Virgin Galactic is set to launch its SpaceShipTwo Unity for the first time since an aborted flight late last year.
During a December 12 test flight of the SpaceShipTwo Unity, an issue with the spaceplane’s ignition sequence resulted in the attempt being aborted. Unity and its mothership safely returned to Spaceport America in New Mexico with their crews unharmed.
Following an initial investigation, it was found that an onboard computer that monitors the propulsion system lost connection. This triggered an automatic abort that halted the ignition sequence.
According to Virgin Galactic, the upcoming launch of Unity will serve as a certification of the work completed since the aborted test flight.
The first launch window for Virgin Galactic’s return to flight opens on February 13. Additional launch opportunities will be available to the company throughout February weather and technical readiness permitting.
“We are pleased to be able to get back to the skies and continue our flight test program,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier.
In addition to certifying work done to mitigate the circumstances of the aborted flight, Virgin Galactic will also be aiming to complete the original test objections of the December 12 test flight. The objectives include testing elements of the customer cabin and upgrades to the horizontal stabilizers and flight controls.
Virgin Galactic’s February 13 launch will be conducted by essential personnel only with no media invited to the test flight. According to the company, this has been done in accordance with New Mexico COVID-19 protocols.