US bars flights of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic over pending mishap probe

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Sep 03, 2021, 07:21 AM(IST)

Richard Branson Photograph:( Reuters )

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It comes after the Virgin Galactic rocket plane deviated from its route during its historic flight due to which its console had flashed a 'red light' or 'entry glide-cone' warning

In a big setback for Virgin Galactic, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has grounded the company from flying its SpaceShipTwo over a pending mishap probe.

It comes after the Virgin Galactic rocket plane deviated from its route during its historic flight due to which its console had flashed a 'red light' or 'entry glide-cone' warning.

Experts believe that warning light goes on when the spaceship is descending at the wrong angle. Such a situation can lead to an emergency landing as well.

The FAA had said that ''Virgin Galactic may not return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to flight until the FAA approves the final mishap investigation report or determines the issues related to the mishap do not affect public safety.''

Virgin Galactic is addressing the causes of the issue and determining how to prevent this from occurring on future missions.

It added that the deviation in the July flight known as Unity 22 was "a controlled and intentional flight path that allowed Unity 22 to successfully reach space and land safely at our Spaceport in New Mexico. At no time were passengers and crew put in any danger."

Two skilled pilots of the company were flying the spacecraft and were able to handle the frightening situation and bring back the passengers onborad safely back to the ground.

Virgic Galactic's founder Richard Branson was accompanied by five other people on the VSS Unity 22 historic space flight.

He had touted the mission as a precursor to a new era of space tourism and said the company he founded in 2004 was poised to begin commercial operations next year.

The American spaceflight company had announced said earlier that it was planning another SpaceShipTwo flight from New Mexico.

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