Virgin Galactic sees space mission with Italian Air Force delayed


A banner hangs on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the IPO of Virgin Galactic (SPCE) in New York, United States, October 28, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid / File Photo

September 10 (Reuters) – (This September 10 story has been corrected to remove the incorrect reference to the company attributing the delay to the FAA investigation in paragraph 2)

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (SPCE.N) on Friday reported a delay in its first commercial research mission with the Italian Air Force to mid-October due to a potential manufacturing defect.

The company said the delay in the mission, named “Unity 23” was unrelated to the resolution pending investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Virgin Galactic said on Friday that a third-party supplier had warned of a possible manufacturing defect in a component of the flight control system during preparations for the test flight.

“At this point, it is not yet clear whether the defect is present in the company’s vehicles and what repair work, if any, might be needed,” the company said, adding that it was conducting inspections with the seller.

The mission was originally scheduled for late September or early October to transport three paid crew members from the Italian Air Force and the Rome-based government agency, the National Research Council. Read more

The FAA is investigating the flight that took billionaire Richard Branson to space in July and last week banned SpaceShipTwo flights until the agency approves the final report on the incident or determines the problems do not affect public safety. Read more

Report by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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