ir Richard Branson’s flight to the sting of house is being investigated by US security regulators after the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo car deviated on return to Earth.
The billionaire businessman grew to become the primary owner-astronaut to participate in a mission when taking off in July, which he hailed as an “expertise of a lifetime”.
However the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates all features of US civil aviation, has revealed an “investigation is ongoing” into the Unity 22 mission.
“Throughout its July 11, 2021 flight, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo car deviated from its Air Site visitors Management clearance because it returned to Spaceport America,” a spokesperson stated.
Virgin Galactic stated the flight’s “final trajectory deviated from our preliminary plan” and strayed out of its mandated airspace.
The corporate blamed excessive altitude wind adjustments, however stated the spacecraft “didn’t fly outdoors of the lateral confines of the protected airspace”.
“Our pilots responded appropriately to those altering flight circumstances precisely as they’ve been skilled and in strict accordance with our established procedures,” a spokesperson defined.
“On account of the trajectory adjustment, the flight did drop beneath the altitude of the airspace that’s protected for Virgin Galactic missions for a brief distance and time (one minute and 41 seconds) earlier than re-entering restricted airspace that’s protected all the way in which to the bottom for Virgin Galactic missions.
“At no time did the ship journey above any inhabitants centres or trigger a hazard to the general public.
“FAA representatives had been current in our management room through the flight and in post-flight debriefs.
“We’re working in partnership with the FAA to handle the airspace for future flights.”
The probe emerged after a report by the New Yorker journal described the ship as “veering off target” and claimed a purple warning gentle flashed within the cockpit, although Virgin Galactic stated it disputes the “deceptive characterisations and conclusions” within the article.