Virgin Galactic has received approval from the FAA for commercial flights to space. That made the space company of billionaire Richard Branson known.
The part of Branson’s conglomerate Virgin Group has been working for years on service to bring tourists to space. A successful test flight with the VSS Unity in May convinced the US regulator to issue a license for commercial spaceflight for the first time.
This was the third time the vehicle had passed 50 miles (80 km), the height used by the FAA as the boundary of space.
In the May test, a spaceplane manned by two pilots was successfully launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic plans to conduct three more test flights. This summer, the company wants to conduct a test flight with an entire crew, CEO Michael Colglazier reports.
The company already sells tickets for space flights. Intended space tourists must first make a $1,000 deposit. Buyers can get the money back if they change their mind. If they are sure they want to go to space, the real ticket costs $250,000.