Billionaire Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic spacecraft is not allowed to enter the air for the time being. During the last flight, on July 11, the aircraft deviated from the agreed course when it was on its way back to Earth. The US aviation authority, the FAA, is investigating that. It is only when completed or when the body is sure that the safety of passengers and others is guaranteed will the aircraft be allowed to fly again.
Virgin Galactic reports that it works closely with the FAA and “tries to identify the cause of the incident.” The spaceShipTwo spacecraft flew to an altitude of about 86 kilometres in July. The aircraft was controlled by two pilots. Branson himself and three of his closest employees were the passengers.
At that height, the atmosphere slowly passes into the vacuum of the universe. During the flight, the device runs more than three times as fast as the sound. At the top, passengers are weightless for a short time. They float through the plane. Through the windows, they see the curvature of the Earth, the stars and the dark universe.
After a short period of time, gravity slowly draws the spacecraft down. During that landing, the aircraft flew slightly lower than it was agreed for almost 2 minutes. Virgin Galactic acknowledges that, but says there was no danger to others. According to the company, the aircraft was slightly blown off course by the high altitude wind.
Virgin Galactic wants to sell tourist flights to space, and with his own flight Branson wanted to advertise it. He is engaged in a fierce competition with two other multibillionaires. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who went to space a week after Branson, and Elon Musk (Tesla, PayPal, SpaceX) have also entered space tourism.