From PC Mag: Virgin Galactic this week announced the delay of its commercial space tourism program until the end of 2022. The company is kicking off its planned "enhancement program" for the VSS Unity spacecraft and VMS Eve carrier aircraft.
Designed to "improve vehicle performance and flight-rate capability," the program includes routine analysis to predict how materials will perform under certain conditions. One recent test, the company says, flagged a "possible reduction in the strength margins of certain materials used to modify specific joints."
These results, according to Virgin Galactic, have "no impact" on the vehicles themselves, but a probe will reveal whether additional work is necessary to keep them at or above established strength margins.
"Our decisions are driven by detailed and thorough analysis, and we fly based on the most accurate and comprehensive data available," according to Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier. "[Our] vehicles are designed with significant margins for safety, providing layers of protection that far exceed loads experienced and expected to occur on our flights."
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