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Virgin Galactic gets approval to fly customers to space

Richard Branson‘s spaceship company Virgin Galactic has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly customers to space.

virgin galactic

Virgin Galactic has announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the company’s plans to fly customers to space. Virgin Galactic has also completed a review of data gathered from its test flight on May 22.

Virgin Galactic is an aerospace entity working on flying private customers to space on the first commercial vehicle for spaceflight in early 2022. The company recently hired former Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde.

The FAA adjustment to Virgin Galactic’s operator’s license is the first time the FAA has licensed a spaceline to fly customers.

“We’re incredibly pleased with the results of our most recent test flight, which achieved our stated flight test objectives,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic.

FAA approves Virgin Galactic plans

“The flight performed flawlessly, and the results demonstrate the safety and elegance of our flight system,” Colglazier added.

“Today’s approval by the FAA of our full commercial launch license, in conjunction with the success of our May 22 test flight, give us confidence as we proceed toward our first fully crewed test flight this summer.”

The test flight of VMS Eve and VSS Unity on May 22 was Virgin Galactic’s third crewed spaceflight, and the first-ever spaceflight from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The flight achieved a speed of Mach 3 and reached space at an altitude of 55.5 miles. After reviewing of the data collected during the flight, the company confirmed that the cabin environment data was in line with predictions.

Space tourism flights take off soon

Virgin Galactic said the rocket-powered test of the spaceship’s upgraded horizontal stabilisers and flight controls demonstrated strong performance. Also, the flight successfully carried three research experiments that tested technologies in microgravity.

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, has set the date of its first space tourism flight on the New Shepard spacecraft for July 20. New Shepard is a reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts past the Kármán line.

Meanwhile, LUSSO Dating is gearing up for Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin’s launch into space tourism by organising the first date in space for singles on Earth.

Virgin Galactic is now preparing for the remaining three test flights.

Images: Virgin Galactic

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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