Virgin Galactic aborts first powered spaceflight from New Mexico spaceport

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity gliding home during a previous test flight. | Image: Virgin Galactic

This morning, Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic had to abort its first powered test flight of its spaceplane from the company’s home in New Mexico, bringing the vehicle home before it could reach space. During the flight, the spaceplane’s engine cut out too early and the vehicle’s two pilots had to glide back down to the ground early.

The aborted engine ignition was caught live by a Twitch livestream provided by the outlet NASASpaceflight. The video showed the spaceplane, called VSS Unity, dropping away from its carrier aircraft in mid-air as planned. The vehicle then briefly ignited its main engine, according to the video, but the ignition cut out after just a moment. On a typical flight, the spaceplane’s engine…

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