Virgin Galactic aborts mission after malfunction

A Virgin Galactic spacecraft didn’t get very far during a test flight on Saturday — instead gliding safely back to its New Mexico launch site after its rocket motor failed to ignite in mid-air.

“The ignition sequence for the rocket motor did not complete. Vehicle and crew are in great shape,” the company tweeted at noon.

“We have several motors ready at Spaceport America. We will check the vehicle and be back to flight soon.”

The mishap happened moments after the spacecraft, with two pilots on board, was released from a special carrier jet at around 50,000 feet in the air.

CEO Michael Colglazier said that the motor was supposed to ignite at that point. Instead, an alert was triggered indicating that there was a lost connection.

The pilots made it back safely in Spaceport America.

The company said its investigating what caused the malfunction.

“As we do with every test flight, we are evaluating all the data, including the root cause assessment of the computer communication loss,” Virgin Galactic tweeted.

With Post wires