Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. said late Monday that an alignment pin became detached from a portion of the mothership-launching apparatus during a recent spaceflight, but that there was no “safety impact” to the spaceships, on-board crew or people on the ground.
said that the problem was detected after a routine post-flight review following the Galactic 06 flight last month. The company reported the issue to the Federal Aviation Administration and is conducting its own review.
All Virgin Galactic flights happen in “restricted airspace and at specific geographical launch locations that control the hazards to people or structures on the ground,” Virgin Galactic said. “The company also observed no damage to the spaceship or the mothership.”
Virgin Galactic said it notified the FAA on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear why the company waited until Monday to reveal the issue and the FAA notification.
The company plans to provide another update once the review ends and also will confirm the flight window for the Galactic 07 mission, which is planned for the second quarter of 2024.
The Galactic 06 flight was Virgin Galactic’s 11th mission and carried four paying customers into space. The flight marked the first time that all four seats aboard the spaceship were occupied by space tourists.
Shares of Virgin Galactic edged higher in the extended session Monday, after ending the regular trading day down 4.6%. In the past 12 months, Virgin Galactic’s stock is down more than 72%, contrasting with gains of around 20% for the S&P 500 index