Advanced Television

Virgin Galactic orbital flight problem

February 7, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital ‘Galactic 06’ tourist rocket flight on January 26th was a success for its four passengers and two accompanying crew. But Virgin has notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that an ‘alignment pin’ became detached during the flight. The problem was discovered during a post-flight examination.

The troublesome alignment pin helps ensure that the rocket-powered spaceship and mothership are aligned when linking the two vehicles on the ground pre-flight, Virgin Galactic said. During the mated-flight portion of the mission, the pin “helps transfer drag and other forces from the spaceship to the shear pin fitting assembly and into the pylon and centre wing of the mothership,” according to Virgin.

The alignment pin worked as designed during the mated portion of the flight, Virgin Galactic said, adding the alignment pin detached after the spaceship was released from the mothership. There was no damage to either vehicle, but Virgin Galactic was conducting a review in conjunction with FAA officials.

Virgin added that “at no time did the detached alignment pin pose a safety impact to the vehicles or the crew on board.”

“Galactic 06 was a safe and successful flight that was conducted in accordance with Virgin Galactic’s rigorous flight procedures and protocols. At no time did the detached alignment pin pose a safety impact to the vehicles or the crew on board. Virgin Galactic flights occur in restricted airspace and at specific geographical launch locations that control the hazards to people or structures on the ground,” stated Virgin.

Virgin Galactic will provide a further update at the completion of the review and will confirm the flight window for the Galactic 07 mission, which is planned for the second quarter of 2024.

Categories: Articles, Satellite

Tags: ,