Virgin Galactic Receives FAA Approval for Full Commercial Launch

Virgin Galactic Receives Approval From FAA for Full Commercial Launch License Following Success of May Test Flight

  • FAA Expands Company’s Commercial Space Transportation Operator License To Allow Carriage of Space Flight Participants
  • Company Details Results of Successful May Test Flight Following Data Analysis
  • Test Flight Program on Track for Flights this Summer

Virgin Galactic today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) updated the Company’s existing commercial space transportation operator license to allow the spaceline to fly customers to space.

The Company also announced that it has completed an extensive review of data gathered from its May 22 test flight and confirmed that the flight performed well against all flight objectives.

virgin galactic faa

VSS Unity in space over New Mexico.

The adjustment to Virgin Galactic’s operator’s license, which the Company has held since 2016, marks the first time the FAA has licensed a spaceline to fly customers. It is further validation of the Company’s methodical testing program, which has met the verification and validation criteria required by the FAA.

Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, Michael Colglazier, said:

“We’re incredibly pleased with the results of our most recent test flight, which achieved our stated flight test objectives. The flight performed flawlessly, and the results demonstrate the safety and elegance of our flight system. Today’s approval by the FAA of our full commercial launch license, in conjunction with the success of our May 22 test flight, give us confidence as we proceed toward our first fully crewed test flight this summer.”

 

The May 22 test flight of VMS Eve and VSS Unity was the Company’s third crewed spaceflight and the first-ever spaceflight from Spaceport America, New Mexico. The flight achieved a speed of Mach 3 and reached space at an altitude of 55.5 miles. After an extensive review of the data collected during the flight, the Company confirmed that:

  • The rocket-powered test of the spaceship’s upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls demonstrated strong performance, in line with predictions. These enhanced systems, which allow for finer pilot control, will also be deployed in future spaceships in the Company’s fleet.
  • The cabin environment data was in line with predictions.
  • The flight successfully carried three revenue-generating research experiments that tested and demonstrated technologies in microgravity as part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. The pilots flew VSS Unity on a specific trajectory designed to meet the objectives of these research experiments.

With the data analysis from the May flight now complete, Virgin Galactic will continue preparing for the remaining three test flights.

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. is a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers, as well as a manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles. It is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique and transformative experience. You can find more information at https://www.virgingalactic.com/.

This article was originally published by Virgin Galactic.

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