The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given Virgin Galactic the green light to transport commercial passengers surrounding its VSS spacecraft. This is an extension of the company’s existing license, which allows professional test aircraft and astronauts to ascend into space using its space planes. The updated license moved to the heels of Virgin Galactic’s successful test flight on May 22. This means that the way is clear for Virgin Galactic to operate as the first official ‘spaceline’ – it is like an airline but for space.
The agency noted that regular services will be provided in the suburbs for space tourists and researchers, including an experience that includes a comparatively invisible view of the earth and a few minutes of weightlessness during a journey of about 2 hours. FAA approval is a big step, but it’s not final before Virgin Galactic launches its original regular service flights to provide customers: the company still has to complete the remaining three test flights before that can happen.
Carrying the entire crew, these will be the first flights of the Virgin spacecraft and its carrier aircraft, and according to CEO Michael Colgazier, “this summer,” the first of these aircraft is still in flight. A report earlier this month claimed that Virgin Galactic back Sir Richard Branson was able to fly on the next test flight, and that this could probably happen before the July 4 weekend, meaning he would land faster than his billionaire rocket launcher. Rival Jeff Bezos, who is set to travel to his own Blue Origin New Shepherd spaceship on July 20th.
Virgin Galactic has not officially said when its next test flight will occur, and sources confirm that the Parabolic Arc report is incorrect. FAA approval is a big step, but it’s not over before Virgin Galactic launches its original regular service flights to deliver customers – the company still has to complete the remaining three test flights before it takes place. According to CEO Michael Colgazier, it will be the first aircraft of its transport aircraft, including the Virgin spacecraft and a full crew, and the first of them still has a goal to fly somewhat this summer.
Earlier this month, a report claimed that Virgin Galactic sponsor Sir Richard Branson could fly on the next test flight, and that this could happen by the end of the week on July 4, meaning it would land faster than its rival, rocket billionaire Jeff Bezos, who is set to travel in his own Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft on July 20th. However, Virgin Galactic has not yet officially said when its next test flight will take place.
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