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Virgin Galactic Delays Next Flight Due to Component Issue

By Rachel Jewett | September 13, 2021

VSS Unity rocket motor burn on the Unity22 flight in July 2021. Photo: Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic has delayed its next test flight “Unity 23” with the Italian Air Force until mid-October due to a component issue. 

In a statement issued Monday, Virgin Galactic said a third-party supplier notified the company of a potential manufacturing defect in a component of the flight control actuation system. Virgin Galactic does not yet know whether the defect affects its vehicles or what repair work may be needed. The company is conducting inspections with the vendor. 

“This issue is unrelated to the Unity 22 flight or the current FAA matter, which is focused on air traffic control clearance and communications,” Virgin Galactic said in the statement. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an issue with Sir Richard Branson’s July flight that the flight went out of its designated airspace. This was first reported by The New Yorker, that the flight experienced a red light safety warning and the FAA is investigating the fight. 

Separately, Branson appeared at SATELLITE 2021 last week and spoke about his vision for the future of commercial spaceflight and space launch