Security alerts went off in the spacecraft's cockpit that transported billionaire Richard Branson to the edge of Earth's atmosphere.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Thursday that Virgin Galatic's space flights should be suspended while investigating why the company's July 11 trip carrying Richard Branson deviated from its planned trajectory.
Virgin Galactic will not be able to return the spaceship to the vehicle until the FAA approves the final report of the crash investigation or determines that crash-related issues affect public safety," the agency said.
Security alerts went off in the cockpit of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft that transported billionaire Branson into space, a report in The New Yorker magazine revealed.
The US Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to AFP on Thursday that it was investigating the details of the flight: the plane deviated from its route and was therefore dedicated to the mission. From airspace.
However, Virgin Galactic assured at the time that the flight went according to plan.
" During the flight on July 11, 2021, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo aircraft deviated from its air traffic control clearance while returning to Spaceport America, " the space base used by the company in the desert of the state of New Mexico, noted the FAA.
The investigation into this irregularity is " ongoing, " the agency said.
The problem in the trajectory threatened to compromise the phase of return to Earth when the VSS Unity spacecraft, in addition to the two pilots, Branson and three other passengers, ended up floating until landing on a New Mexico runway.
A red light indicates a severe problem that could have been fatal, the post explained.
The plane crossed an altitude of 80 km, a point set for the US space border, which allowed passengers to get out of their seats and swim for a few minutes without weight.
Citing unnamed sources inside Branson's company, the magazine said the safest way to respond to the warnings was to disrupt the mission.
A ruling would have significantly damaged the image of Virgin Galactic, which had invited the entire press and many prestigious spectators - including tycoon Elon Musk, owner of the automotive manufacturer Tesla and aerospace SpaceX - to this live broadcast event.
Branson, 70, beat the giant Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his company Blue Origin for a few days in a space race between billionaires.