Virgin Galactic and its founder, Richard Branson, hailed a successful test flight by the company’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane that carried him and five others to suborbital space, but offered few new details about the company’s future plans.
The FAA has granted permission to Virgin Galactic to fly customers, and not just employees, on its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle, a move that could allow the company’s founder to fly to the edge of space soon.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo made its first flight to space in more than two years May 22, completing the first in a series of four suborbital flights planned by the company over the next several months.
Virgin Galactic will attempt its next SpaceShipTwo suborbital test flight as soon as May 22 after resolving concerns about the maintenance of its carrier aircraft.
Virgin Galactic said May 10 that while it believes it corrected a problem with its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane that aborted a test flight five months ago, the resumption of those test flights could be further delayed by a problem with the plane that carries SpaceShipTwo aloft.
Virgin Galactic says it is delaying the next test flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle by more than two months to address technical issues, part of a revamped flight test program that will postpone flights of space tourists to 2022.
Virgin Galactic announced Feb. 1 that the company will launch its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane in mid-February, two months after a technical problem aborted an earlier launch attempt.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo aborted an attempted suborbital spaceflight Dec. 12 from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.
When Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo takes to the skies above New Mexico later this month, it will do so without the crowds and publicity once expected for the historic flight.
Virgin Galactic is postponing a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle that was scheduled for this week after the state of New Mexico reinstated a stay-at-home order in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Virgin Galactic executives said Nov. 5 that the company is ready to begin a final series of test flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle as the company attempts to move into commercial operations in 2021.