Virgin Galactic, the private spaceflight firm founded by billionaire Richard Branson, received Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly humans to space. The company’s actual goal is to launch its “first fully crewed test flight” in the coming months. The company has already booked hundreds of reservations for touristic flights.
Virgin Galactic operates the reusable SpaceShipTwo spaceflight system – consisting of WhiteKnightTwo, a custom-built, carrier aircraft, and SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first passenger carrying spaceship to be built by a private company and operated in commercial service. “We are at the vanguard of a new industry determined to pioneer twenty-first century spacecraft, which will open space to everybody – and change the world for good,” Virgin Galactic says on its official website citing founder Sir Richard Bronson.
The British-American spaceflight company that operates in the United States aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists. Branson also has said that Virgin Galactic was “in the best position in the world” to provide rocket-powered, point-to-point 3,000 mph (4,800 km/h) air travel. Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born1950) controls more than 400 companies in various fields, by Virgin Group. In February 2021, Forbes listed Branson’s estimated net worth at US$6.5 billion. Virgin Galactic is not the only corporation pursuing suborbital spacecraft for tourism. Blue Origin is developing suborbital flights with its New Shepard spacecraft. SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts to bring crew to orbit.