US grants experimental permit to Virgin Galactic

May 30, 2012

(AP) — Virgin Galactic says it expects to make rocket-powered test flights of its passenger spaceship later this year.

The company said Wednesday its spaceship builder partner has been granted an experimental permit from the Federal Aviation Administration — a move that will allow it to proceed with powered flights.

No timetable has been set for the first launches carrying paying customers, but that'll come after the test program is complete. More than 500 people including actor Ashton Kutcher have signed up with for a chance to experience weightlessness during suborbital flights.

Virgin Galactic and Mojave, California-based Scaled Composites have been glide-testing their six-passenger vehicle SpaceShipTwo, which is air-launched from a twin-fuselage carrier airplane.

Work is under way to integrate the rocket motor into SpaceShipTwo.

Explore further: Sir Richard Branson All Fired Up With Latest Rocket Motor Test


Related Stories

Space tourism craft reaches glide-test milestone (Update)

May 4, 2011

High over the Mojave Desert, the stubby-winged SpaceShipTwo bent itself into a near-right angle shape and plunged nearly straight downward for more than a minute before unfolding and gliding to a runway landing before an ...

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.