Permission denied for reentry of Varda’s orbiting experiment capsule - Living Strong Television Network
Permission denied for reentry of Varda’s orbiting experiment capsule

Enlarge / Varda’s reentry capsule measures nearly 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter, and will jettison from its Rocket Lab-built carrier spacecraft when the mission is ready to return to Earth. (credit: Varda Space Industries)

A first-of-its-kind commercial spacecraft owned by an in-space manufacturing startup called Varda Space Industries has been in orbit two months longer than originally planned, waiting for government approval to return to Earth with a cache of pharmaceutical specimens.

Varda’s satellite launched on June 12 for what was originally supposed to be a month-long mission to demonstrate the company’s technology for producing commercial materials, mainly pharmaceuticals, inside a recoverable capsule designed to return the products to Earth for laboratory analysis and eventual commercial exploitation.

However, the recovery of Varda’s capsule is on hold after the Federal Aviation Administration and the US Air Force recently declined to give Varda approval to land its spacecraft in a remote part of Utah. TechCrunch first reported the FAA turned down Varda’s application for a commercial reentry license.

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