Home Tech Virgin Galactic has a space tourism license in its pocket

Virgin Galactic has a space tourism license in its pocket

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Virgin Galactic has reached an agreement with the American aeronautical authorities. British businessman Richard Branson’s company is now officially licensed for commercial spaceflight.

Virgin Galactic announced it on Thursday. The agreement with the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) describes in detail how future space flights can be integrated into normal air traffic. The first commercial flights are expected by the end of the year.

The group needed such an agreement to launch its flights from the Spaceport America base in the American state of New Mexico, in the south-west of the country. More than 600 people have already bought a not too cheap ($250,000) ticket for such a space flight. Besides Richard Branson himself, these include American actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and crippled scientist Stephen Hawking.

Six minutes in weightlessness

“Our team is working tirelessly to begin accessible, scheduled flights from Spaceport America, and this agreement brings us one step closer to that goal,” said George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic will generally not place its customers in orbit like “real” astronauts. With the rocket plane Spaceship Two, they will be taken to an altitude of 110 kilometers, just high enough to be officially in space. There they will experience six minutes of weightlessness, after which the craft will land like an ordinary airplane. (Belgium/TV)

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