The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Virgin Galactic’s commercial space transportation operator license, allowing the company to fly customers to space.
This is the first time the FAA has licensed a spaceline to fly customers. It is further validation of Virgin Galactic’s methodical testing program, which has met the verification and validation criteria required by the FAA.
On 22 May, the company launched a test flight, which reached space at an altitude of 55.5 miles. The company also has completed an extensive review of data gathered from the test flight to confirm that the flight performed well against all predictions, such as the performance of the vehicle’s upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls, the cabin environment.
With the data analysis from the May flight, Virgin Galactic will continue preparing for the next remaining three test flights.
Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, 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.”