Richard Branson’s airline announced that it has been licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, the latest hurdle in Virgin Galactic’s multi-year effort to send passengers on short space voyages.
The company is working on three more test flights into space before opening the spacecraft’s doors to paying customers. In fact, the original plans foresaw that the company’s engineers were the first to leave to evaluate the equipment, then a flight with Branson himself, and finally a scientific mission by the officers of the Italian Air Force.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, with his Blue Origin, has also announced plans to drive his own rocket into space, with growing speculation as to how Brason was intent on beating the Amazon owner in the race for space tourism.
Unlike fully automated capsule of Blue Origin and SpaceX, launched from the ground through reusable rockets, the Virgin Galactic uses a winged vehicle, with a pair of pilots launched from the belly of a plane.
Said Michael Colglazier, managing director: ” The approval by the FAA of our commercial launch license, along with the successful test flight, gives us confidence as we move toward our first flight with a full crew .”
More than 600 people have already booked a ride into space. With tickets costing $ 250,000, but which will certainly increase once Virgin Galactic has completed its first flights and opened for new bookings.