Virgin Galactic has received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct commercial space flights with passengers aboard its spacecraft, VSS. The updated license expands the license the company founded by billionaire Richard Branson already had, on flights with professional astronauts and decorated test pilots.
As a result, Virgin Galactic has now won federal approval to conduct commercial spaceflights as its main product, which is one of the main reasons the company exists, by the way, offering transport packages that will carry passengers into orbit from Earth in flights of nearly two hours.
However, the company still has to perform at least three additional tests, and it does not pass, including one in which the spacecraft and its rocket booster are launched with a full crew. According to CEO Michael Colglaiser, such an assessment should take place by the end of 2021.
It should be noted that before that, a new flight test is scheduled for July – specifically, the weekend of July 4 – where Richard Branson himself should be on the crew. If confirmed, Branson will be the first billionaire owner of an airline to make a trip into Earth orbit.
If it doesn’t, Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos and (at least) Amazon CEO is the one to have the honor, as he himself confirmed an orbital flight with his New Shepard spacecraft, on July 20.
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