The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it is investigating a deviation in the descent of the flight of the Virgin Galactic rocket plane. On July 11, it carried British billionaire Richard Branson to the edge of space. According to the New Yorker magazine the regulator was investigating an off-course descent. Deviated from its Air Traffic Control clearance, the vehicle returned to Spaceport America. The investigation is going on in the FAA.
The company stated that the flight did drop below the altitude of the airspace, and that is for a short distance and time (1 minute and 41 seconds) before re-entering restricted airspace. Then at no time did the ship travel above any population centers or cause a hazard to the public. Virgin Galactic acknowledged that the flight’s ultimate trajectory deviated from their initial plan but it did not fly outside of the lateral confines of the protected airspace.
The company also said that they are working in partnership with the FAA to address the airspace for future flights. Virgin Galactic said that when the vehicle encountered high altitude winds, that changed the trajectory. At that time the pilots and systems monitored the trajectory for ensuring that it is remaining within the mission parameters. During the flight a red light flashed on the ship’s console. And that indicates an entry glide-cone warning. They also stated that at no time were passengers and crew put in any danger as a result of this change in trajectory.