The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigates an incident with a deviation from the course when the Virgin Galactic Unity spacecraft descended during the first test suborbital flight with a full crew, The New Yorker reports.
According to the publication, a red light came on in the cockpit, warning about a deviation from the desired trajectory even during the flight. Such a situation could not only provoke a dangerous emergency landing but also lead to an exit outside the air corridor allocated by the regulator, the newspaper writes.
An FAA representative confirmed to the publication that the ship deviated from the permitted course and noted that an investigation is underway. A representative of Virgin Galactic, in turn, said that the company initially did not notify the regulator about the deviation and said that the device flew outside the allocated airspace for almost two minutes.
On July 11, Virgin Galactic successfully launched its Unity spacecraft with a crew of four people, headed by the company’s owner Richard Branson. After separation from the carrier aircraft, Unity independently climbed to an altitude of more than 80 kilometers, where the crew could feel weightlessness for a few minutes. After that, the device began to descend and soon landed on the territory of a private spaceport in the U.S. state of New Mexico.