The last tests of the Virgin Galactic ship ended in the ship’s engine failure. The device crew is intact, but they will have to postpone the launch of commercial flights.
Virgin Galactic’s latest trials ended in an accident – the company discovered that the SpaceShipTwo’s rocket engine had failed to fire during a Spaceport America test. Engineers said the ship and crew were “in excellent condition,” The company could conduct more tests as they have backup engines. They plan to do so in the coming days.
The trajectory is back to Spaceport America. Engine looks like it's still smoking after shutdown.
Heading back through 27,000 feet to the runway. pic.twitter.com/MCTDjWMl4E
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) December 12, 2020
The researchers note that these tests were the last before a new phase of testing, in which the company’s specialists will operate the device – these are the last steps before the launch of commercial space services. However, Virgin is now unable to start accepting paying customers.
SpaceShipTwo, also known as SS2, is a reusable suborbital private crewed spacecraft. This is one of the Tier One program ships for the commercial launch of tourists into space.
The device can carry up to 8 people on board. It is larger and more comfortable than analogs. Moreover, the ship’s system is several times simpler than that of other devices.