Virgin Galactic flights to space were suspended after detecting irregularities on their first trip

Virgin Galactic Trips to the Space

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Thursday that Virgin Galatic’s space flights should be suspended while it investigates why the company’s July 11 trip carrying Richard Branson deviated from its planned trajectory.

Virgin Galactic will not be able to put the SpaceShipTwo vehicle back into flight until the FAA approves the final report of the accident investigation or determines that the problems related to the accident do not affect public safety,” the agency said.

Security alerts went off in the cockpit of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft that transported billionaire Branson into space, a report in The New Yorker magazine revealed.

The American Aviation Agency (FAA) confirmed this Thursday to the AFP agency that it is investigating the details of this flight: the aircraft deviated from its trajectory and therefore from the airspace dedicated to the mission.

However, Virgin Galactic had assured at the time that the flight had gone according to plan.

During the flight on July 11, 2021, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo aircraft deviated from its air traffic control clearance while returning to Spaceport America,” the space base used by the company in the desert of the state of New Mexico, noted the FAA.

The investigation into this irregularity is “ongoing,” the agency said.

The problem in the trajectory threatened to compromise the return phase to Earth, when the VSS Unity spacecraft, in which in addition to the two pilots, Branson and three other passengers, ended up floating until landing on a New Mexico runway.

A red light indicates a serious problem that could have been fatal, the post explained.

The aircraft had exceeded 80 km altitude, the point established in the United States for the space frontier, allowing passengers to get out of their seats and float for a few minutes in weightlessness.

Citing anonymous sources within the company founded by Branson, the magazine specified that the safest way to react to these alerts would have been to interrupt the mission.

A ruling would have greatly damaged the image of Virgin Galactic, which had invited the entire press and many prestigious spectators – including tycoon Elon Musk, owner of the automotive manufacturer Tesla and aerospace SpaceX – to this live broadcast event.

Branson, 70, beat the founder of the giant Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his company Blue Origin for a few days in a space race between billionaires.