The FAA grounds Virgin Galactic’s spaceship after flight deviation

Images from the flight of VSS Unity.

Enlarge / VSS Unity burns its rocket motor on July 11, 2021. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday said it has grounded Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo vehicle until the agency completes an investigation into the vehicle’s flight outside its designated air space.

“Virgin Galactic may not return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to flight until the FAA approves the final mishap investigation report or determines the issues related to the mishap do not affect public safety,” the aviation agency said in a statement.

The statement follows a report on Wednesday that the spacecraft, carrying Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson and three other passengers, flew outside of its designated airspace over New Mexico for 1 minute and 42 seconds on July 11.

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