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Federal Aviation Administration Grounds the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip

For the time being, the Federal Aviation Administration  has decided that Virgin Galactic will not make another trip to the edge of space. The company’s VSS Unity rocket plane, according to the agency, strayed out of its allocated area as it glided back down to Earth on July 11 for a landing at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The much-anticipated journey to the edge of space was the company’s first with a full crew on board, including billionaire founder Sir Richard Branson. The Federal Aviation Administration verified to CNET on Thursday that the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo vehicle diverged from its air traffic control clearance when it returned to Spaceport America during the voyage.

The said a few hours later that it was halting all of the company’s SpaceShipTwo vehicles, including Unity, until the investigation into the disaster continues. Any time something out of the usual occurs on such a flight, the Federal Aviation Administration will typically undertake a routine mishap investigation. Nicholas Schmidle, author of Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut, first revealed the problem with Unity’s descent in the New Yorker.An agency spokesperson said, “Virgin Galactic may not return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to flight until the approves the final mishap investigation report or determines the issues related to the mishap do not affect public safety.”

According to a statement from Virgin Galactic, the flight’s ultimate trajectory deviated from our initial plan… the flight did drop below the altitude of the airspace that is protected for Virgin Galactic missions for a short distance and time (1 minute and 41 seconds) before reentering restricted airspace that is protected for Virgin Galactic missions all the way to the ground.In other words, the corporation claims it was only out of bounds vertically for a brief period of time, but not laterally. However, Mark “Forger” Stucky, Virgin Galactic’s former flight test director, who was present for the entire trip from Spaceport America on July 11, rejects the company’s claim.

Stucky had been a key member of the Virgin Galactic crew for more than a decade before the July journey, which was also billed as a huge media event with hundreds of invited visitors and reporters in attendance, including yours mine. However, Schmidle’s book, which came out in May, included some of Stucky’s criticisms of Virgin Galactic and its safety record.A request for response on Stucky’s criticisms was not returned by Virgin Galactic. The firm, on the other hand, says it disagrees with Schmidle’s incorrect characterizations and conclusions in the New Yorker piece, which cites the former employee’s worries about Virgin Galactic’s culture and attitude to safety.

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