We’ll have to attend a bit longer to see Virgin Galactic’s third spaceflight.
The corporate had been concentrating on tomorrow (Feb. 13) for the subsequent crewed take a look at flight of its latest suborbital SpaceShipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity. However that is not going to occur.
“Flight take a look at replace: We have now been progressing by way of our pre-flight preparations and, throughout that course of, we’ve determined to permit extra time for technical checks. We’re working to determine the subsequent flight alternative,” Virgin Galactic representatives announced via Twitter today (Feb. 12).
There are further launch alternatives for the take a look at flight — which is able to carry two pilots, no passengers and a few analysis payloads manifested by way of the NASA Flight Alternatives program — all through February, the corporate stated in a Feb. 1 update.
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Unity’s first two spaceflights, in December 2018 and February 2019, took off from California’s Mojave Air and Area Port, close to the headquarters of Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing subsidiary, The Spaceship Firm. However the upcoming third flight will lift off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, Virgin Galactic’s industrial hub. It is going to be the primary crewed area mission ever to launch from the state.
Unity has already tried as soon as to make spaceflight quantity three. However the area aircraft’s rocket motor failed to fire properly throughout that first try, on Dec. 12, 2020, and pilots C.J. Sturckow and Dave Mackay introduced Unity down for a untimely however secure touchdown at Spaceport America. (SpaceShipTwo takes off beneath the wings of a service aircraft, then makes its personal approach to suborbital area after being dropped at an altitude of about 50,000 ft, or 15,000 meters.)
The problem that brought on the Dec. 12 abort — a bad connection within the pc that controls Unity’s propulsion system — was quickly recognized and rectified, and Virgin Galactic began prepping the car for an additional try.
Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e-book in regards to the seek for alien life. Observe him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.