According to the New Yorker, a trajectory problem arose during the flight of the Virgin Galactic ship in July. The US aviation agency has opened an investigation. While awaiting its results, SpaceShipTwo is immobilized.
Richard Branson absolutely wanted to get to space before his rival Jeff Bezos. He finally achieved his goals on July 11 by participating in the flight of the VSS Unity. Built after the SpaceShipTwo model, the spacecraft rose to nearly 90 km above sea level. A mission that seemed crowned with success. But an article in the New Yorker has just brought to light compromising information for the aerospace company, showering the ambient enthusiasm.
Citing sources working at Virgin Galactic, the media indicates that the vessel has deviated from the path it should normally follow. Which could have had dramatic consequences, compromising the return of the craft to the blue planet. An investigation has already been opened by the United States Aviation Agency (FAA). Until further notice, Virgin Galactic will no longer be able to deploy its SpaceShipTwo ship. The FAA will need to validate the findings of the investigation or determine “That the problems associated with the incident do not affect the safety of the public”.
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Virgin Galactic welcomes the reaction of its pilots
During the flight, a red light appeared in the ship. This warned the pilots of the occurrence of a thorny trajectory problem. While it would have been wiser to stop the mission, Dave Mackay and Mike Masucci succeeded in correcting the trajectory error. However, they flew outside of authorized airspace. Which had been designated upstream to ensure the safety of other aircraft and people on the ground.
“When the vehicle encountered high altitude winds, which altered the trajectory, the pilots and systems monitored the trajectory to ensure it remained within mission parameters,” estimates for its part Virgin Galactic. And greet the reaction “Appropriate” pilots to “These changing flight conditions”.
Regarding the FAA investigation, the company made the following statement: “We take this seriously and are currently investigating the causes of the problem to ensure that this does not happen again in future missions.” Pending the results of the investigation, the Unity 23 mission, which is due to carry four passengers into space next October, is on hold.