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FAA clears Virgin Galactic for flight after ‘mishap’ investigation

Carrier aircraft VMS Eve takes off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, carrying spacecraft VSS Unity on July 11, 2021.

Virgin Galactic

The Federal Aviation Administration cleared Virgin Galactic to return to flight on Wednesday after completing a mishap investigation into the spaceflight that carried Sir Richard Branson.

The regulator had grounded the space tourism company’s operations The FAA discovered that the spacecraft of the company had violated its restricted airspace on the July 11 mission. This was earlier in the month.

According to the FAA, “The investigation revealed that Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo’s vehicle deviated in space from its allocated airspace during descent,” and “Virgin Galactic did not communicate this deviation as required.”

According to the FAA, Virgin Galactic made necessary changes during spaceflight operations. It stated that they had updated their calculations to “expand the protected airspace” for future missions and also taken “additional measures” so the FAA can receive “real time mission notifications.”

Virgin Galactic’s shares have jumped 10% since its $22.56 closing.

We appreciate the FAA’s comprehensive review of our inquiry. We have a test flight program that is designed to improve and continue improving our procedures and processes. In a press release, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier stated that the updates to our airspace will help us strengthen our preparations for commercial spaceflight.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.