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[Slashdot] - FAA Clears Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo For Flight After Probe Into July Incident


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Virgin Galactic is cleared to resume flights of its SpaceShipTwo space plane, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Wednesday, after capping a safety investigation into issues that came up during the company's July flight carrying its founder Richard Branson. During that mission, SpaceShipTwo strayed from its designated airspace on its descent from space, and Virgin Galactic didn't tell the FAA about it when it was supposed to. The Verge reports: With the investigation now closed, the FAA required Virgin Galactic to make changes "on how it communicates to the FAA during flight operations to keep the public safe," it said in a statement. Virgin Galactic said that includes "updated calculations to expand the protected airspace for future flights" and "additional steps into the Company's flight procedures to ensure real-time mission notifications to FAA Air Traffic Control." Another change: "Updated calculations to expand the protected airspace for future flights," the company said. "We appreciate the FAA's thorough review of this inquiry. Our test flight program is specifically designed to continually improve our processes and procedures," Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement. "The updates to our airspace and real-time mission notification protocols will strengthen our preparations as we move closer to the commercial launch of our spaceflight experience."

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