Virgin Galactic gets green light for passenger flights into space

The news comes at a critical time for owner Richard Branson, as he competes against Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX projects 

On June 25, Virgin Galactic announced it had received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate passenger flights into space.  

The FAA has subsequently renewed Virgin’s previous commercial space license, which only permitted crewed test flights, further validating its methodical testing program. 

Virgin Galactic
Photo Virgin Galactic 

The company also confirmed that its test flights on May 22 had met all objectives following an extensive review of data gathered from the VMS Eve and VSS Unity. 

Last month’s results revealed that the Unity’s upgraded horizontal stabilisers had performed well, allowing for finer pilot control. It will now continue preparing for the remaining three test flights. 

“We’re incredibly pleased with the results of our most recent test flight, which achieved our stated flight test objectives,” said Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic. “The flight performed flawlessly, and the results demonstrate the safety and elegance of our flight system.” 

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