SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceflight halted by Virgin Galactic

SpaceShipTwo of Virgin Galactic halted the Spaceport America suborbital spaceflight, which was to take place in southern New Mexico on December 12. WhiteKnightTwo aircraft of the Virgin Galactic took off from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico at exactly 10:24 a.m. Eastern, carrying the SpaceShipTwo company’s vehicle called VSS Unity. Oriental. Dave Mackay, the company’s chief test pilot, and retired NASA astronaut CJ Sturckow were the operators of SpaceShipTwo.

At around 11:15 a.m. Eastern, VSS Unity split from WhiteKnightTwo. The spaceplane seemed to switch on its hybrid rocket engine, but it nearly shut down completely, according to a webcast from The spacecraft then returned to Spaceport America at 11:27 a.m. Eastern, the firm reported on Twitter. “Alive and safe pilots and vehicles came back,” said the firm. The rocket motor ignition sequence was not finished. The organization tweeted shortly after the SpaceShipTwo arrived, “The vehicle, as well as crew, is in good shape.” “At Spaceport America, we’ve got many engines ready. We will search the vehicle, and soon we will be back on the flight.

Michael Colglazier, chief executive officer of Virgin Galactic, said, “a device on SpaceShipTwo lost its link at the time of ignition in an update later on December 12. This caused a fail-safe scenario, as intended that deliberately halted the rocket engine ignition. Our pilots flew back to Spaceport America following this incident and landed nicely as usual,” he said in a statement. An investigation is ongoing to determine the root cause of the machine problem. Because of the epidemic, the organization could not have its streaming of the flight as well as did not welcome journalists or other visitors at the spaceport, limiting access only to critical staff.

Nearly 2 years after the initial flight of SpaceShipTwo to orbit, the flight took place from the California Mojave Air and Space Port. With Mark Stucky, Sturckow piloted the flight. In February 2019, the corporation was able to make a second trip to space, again from Mojave, with Mackay and Mike ‘Sooch’ Masucci flying the spacecraft as well as Beth Moses. The latter serves as the chief astronaut trainer of the Virgin Galactic, also on board.

The organization then halted the powered flight test program to update the aircraft as well as outfit the interior of the cockpit. In February, Virgin Galactic moved the vehicles to New Mexico’s Spaceport America as well as carried out a series of captive carry as well as glide flights ahead of the powered flight effort.