September 19, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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The United States has temporarily halted Billionon’s flights to the frontiers of space

The company wanted to take three Italian scientists to the frontiers of space.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has temporarily halted flights to the frontiers of space by billionaire Richard Branson’s private company Virgin Galactic.

The Associated Press reported this on Thursday, adding that the reason was that the VSS Unity space shuttle veered off course during the last flight. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the deflection ejected the shuttle from the area allowed by air traffic control.

The ban came shortly after Virgin Galactic announced that it plans to take three Italian scientists to the edge of space within a few weeks. The Associated Press noted that the FAA is responsible for protecting the public during commercial flights. On the other hand, the safety of the crew is not within the purview of the authority.

Virgin Galactic announced Thursday that Branson and all other passengers aboard the historic first commercial flight of the VSS Unity space shuttle were in no danger. However, the company admitted that the machine exited the airspace for 41 seconds.

Scheduled commercial flights

VSS Unity took off on July 11 from Spaceport America near the town of Truth or Consequences in the US state of New Mexico, landing in less than 90 minutes.

The shuttle was first brought to an altitude of about 13 kilometers by the carrier aircraft VMS Eve. After that, the machine detached from the plane and reached an altitude of about 88 kilometers, during which the crew experienced weightlessness for several minutes.

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This was the 22nd test flight for VSS Unity in total. Three of them had people on board, but it wasn’t until the July flight that the first flight had a full crew of six.

Branson had previously announced that two more test flights were expected after the July flight, before launching regular commercial spaceflights in 2022.