The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST) has awarded Virgin Galactic an operator license for SpaceShipTwo. The license award, which will ultimately permit commercial operations of the vehicle, was the culmination of several years of in-depth interaction with the FAA.
The license review process consisted of an in-depth review of the vehicles system design, safety analysis and flight trajectory analysis, culminating in FAA-AST approval.
Virgin Galactic Senior Vice President of Operations Mike Moses said, “The granting of our operator license is an important milestone for Virgin Galactic, as is our first taxi test for our new spaceship. While we still have much work ahead to fully test this spaceship in flight, I am confident that our world-class team is up to the challenge.”
On August 1, the Virgin Galactic team conducted a taxi test with SpaceShipTwo (VSS Unity) and Range Rover Autobiography provided by Virgin Galactic’s automotive partner Land Rover. This test is an important step towards the flight test program.
Virgin Galactic aims to be the world’s first commercial space line. SpaceShipTwo will carry private citizens into space and may eventually be used for hypersonic point-to-point transportation.