Virgin Galactic investigating dropped pin on most recent suborbital flight

WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic said Feb. 5 it is investigating why a pin fell from the aircraft used by its VSS Unity suborbital spaceplane on its most recent flight last month, adding that the incident did not pose a safety risk to those on board.
The company said in a statement that it notified the Federal Aviation Administration Jan. 31 of the incident, which took place during its Galactic 06 suborbital flight Jan. 26 from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The company said it is reviewing the incident in conjunction with the FAA.
Virgin Galactic said the alignment pin fell from its VMS Eve mothership aircraft, the plane that carries VSS Unity aloft. The pin is used to ensure Unity is aligned to Eve when mated during preflight preparations. After takeoff, the pin helps transfer drag loads from Unity into the pylon and center wing section of the aircraft.
The alignment pin detached after Unity separated from Eve, although the company did not state how long afterwards

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