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Virgin Galactic Clear to Fly
Posted By: reports that Virgin Galactic has been cleared to fly again by the US Federal Aviation Administration who grounded them pending an investigation into their July 11 crewed test flight.

Details of anomalies during that flight and previous claims by their flight test director of a disregard for safety were detailed in a New Yorker article.

During flight, the VSS Unity was executing a programmed 1 minute burn. In the final few seconds the console's entry glide-cone warning light turned red. They weren't flying steeply enough to execute the necessary circling maneuver to re-enter the atmosphere and glide safely to the ground.

The red light should have seen the maneuver aborted by pilots. It wasn't. Possibly because that would have meant a mission failure and competitor Bezos beating Branson into space.

Unity ultimately landed safely but flew outside of its designated airspace for one minute and forty seconds and didn't communicate that during the flight.

[ Image credit: Crew. Credit: Virgin Galactic via Twitter. ]


Schmidle, Nicholas (September 1, 2021). The Red Warning Light on Richard Branson’s Space Flight. The New Yorker.

Wall, Mike (September 30, 2021). FAA clears Virgin Galactic to start flying again.