ORANGE COUNTY, CA. – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (the “Company” or “Virgin Galactic”) today announced that during routine post-flight reviews following its most recent spaceflight, ‘Galactic 06,’ the Company became aware that an alignment pin detached from the launch pylon of our mothership, VMS Eve, during flight. The Company notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on January 31 in accordance with regulations and is conducting a review in conjunction with the FAA.
‘Galactic 06’ was a safe and successful flight that was conducted in accordance with Virgin Galactic’s rigorous flight procedures and protocols. At no time did the detached alignment pin pose a safety impact to the vehicles or the crew on board. Virgin Galactic flights occur in restricted airspace and at specific geographical launch locations that control the hazards to people or structures on the ground. The Company also observed no damage to the spaceship or the mothership.
The alignment pin helps ensure the spaceship is aligned to the mothership when mating the vehicles on the ground during pre-flight procedures. During mated flight, as the vehicles climb towards release altitude, the alignment pin helps transfer drag and other forces from the spaceship to the shear pin fitting assembly and into the pylon and center wing of the mothership. The shear pin fitting assembly remained both attached and intact on the mothership with no damage. While both parts play a role during mated flight, they do not support the spaceship’s weight, nor do they have an active function once the spaceship is released.
The alignment pin and shear pin fitting assembly performed as designed during the mated portion of the flight, and only the alignment pin detached after the spaceship was released from the mothership.
Virgin Galactic will provide a further update at the completion of the review and will confirm the flight window for the ‘Galactic 07’ mission, which is planned for the second quarter of 2024.
About Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is an aerospace and space travel company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers with its advanced air and space vehicles. Scale and profitability are driven by next generation vehicles capable of bringing humans to space at an unprecedented frequency with an industry-leading cost structure. You can find more information at https://www.virgingalactic.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). All statements contained in this press release other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company working with the FAA to conduct a review relating to the Galactic 06 mission and the timing of such review, and the proposed timing of the Company’s next planned mission, Galactic 07, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “potential,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, though not all forward-looking statements use these words or expressions. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, any delay in future commercial flights of our spaceflight fleet, the safety of our spaceflight systems, and the other, risks and uncertainties included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the Investor Relations section of our website at www.virgingalactic.com, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change.