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FAA opens probe into anomaly on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceflight

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into an anomaly on the Virgin Galactic flight that carried Richard Branson to space. In a piece discussing not just that special flight but the company’s many safety publications throughout the years, The New Yorker explained that Virgin’s spacecraft went off-course during descent, triggering an “entry glide-cone warning.” The spacecraft uses the glide cone method, which simulateds water circling down the drain, for landing. Apparently, the pilots for members of the mission didn’t fly as steeply as they should have, inducing the system to raise the alarm.

An FAA spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that the vehicle “deviated from its Air Traffic Control clearance as it returned to Spaceport America” and it’s investigating the incident. The busines affords missions to space a marked airspace they can fly in to prevent crashes with commercial-grade airplanes and to minimize civilian casualties in the event of an accident. Virgin’s Unity 22 goal fly out of that specified airspace for a minute and forty-one seconds before the captains were able to correct course.

Nicholas Schmidle, generator of The New Yorker piece, said he attended a meeting a few years ago, wherein the same pilots on the Unity 22 flight said a red light entry glide-cone warning should “scare the shit out of you.” Apparently, that conveys it’s too late, and that the safest course of action is to abort. In a statement it published after the section went out, though, Virgin Galactic said it “disputes the misleading characterizations and conclusions” in the part and that the person or persons on the flight weren’t in any possibility as a consequence of the flight divergence. The companionship said 😛 TAGEND

“When the vehicle encountered high altitude gusts which deepened the path, the captains and plans observed the trajectory to ensure it remained within mission constants. Our captains reacted appropriately to these changing flight predicaments precisely as they were trained and in strict accordance with our established procedures. Although the flights ultimate path deviated from our initial plan, it 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 fares and crew lay in any peril as a result of this change in trajectory.”

It also said that the spacecraft did not fly outside of the lateral confines of the mission’s protected airspace, even though it is did throw below the altitude of the airspace it was provided. The company added that it’s “working in partnership with the FAA to address the airspace for future flights.”

Read more: engadget.com

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