Virgin Galactic is allowed to fly again after an airspace violation

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The rocket flight company Virgin Galactic is basically allowed to start again. During the maiden flight with company founder Richard Branson on board, the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft left the approved test area on its return to Earth. This led to a temporary take-off ban and an investigation by the US Federal Aviation Authority. This investigation is now complete.

It wasn’t just the airspace violation during the test flight that was problematic – something like that can certainly happen in an experimental space venture. Virgin Galactic did not report the incident to air surveillance. For the future, the company Besserung praises: They will calculate the necessary flight space more generously and adapt their own processes in order to ensure immediate information from the airspace surveillance. The FAA is happy with that. She lifted the start ban on Wednesday.

On the same day, of all people, Gregory Fredenburg announced his resignation. The aviation veteran had been with Virgin Galactic for eight years, responsible for obtaining permits to fly and complying with all regulatory requirements.

When exactly Virgin Galactic will take off again is open. The next test flight was originally supposed to start at the end of September or beginning of October. Virgin Galactic, however, had to postpone the next space flight. Potential defects on a component of the flight control must be investigated and, if necessary, rectified. So nothing happens before mid-October.

On the next mission, the SpaceShipTwo is to take off with members of the Italian Air Force and the US National Research Council as paying passengers. They want to investigate the effects of the transition from normal earth gravity to microgravity on humans and the environment. Thereafter, the spacecraft and carrier aircraft will be extensively serviced before the company plans to start regular commercial spaceflight operations in mid-2022. It was only in August that Virgin Galactic increased its prices sharply.

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