Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo to Launch Christmas Day 2013 from Spaceport America
Virgin Group billionaire Sir Richard Branson, in remarks last week during a trip to Dubai, said the first public Virgin Galactic flight would happen December 25, 2013 according to The National, a publication in the United Arab Emirates suggesting he'd be on the inaugural space tourism flight, along with family members from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Sean Wilson of Griffin Communications Group, a spokesperson for Virgin Galactic, said in a company statement that the start date for carrying paying passengers has always hinged upon safety. Other factors are the successful completion of its test-flight program and the FAA issuing a key license, reported the Las Cruces Sun-News.
"The path is now clear to a fairly small number of similar flights which will see a rapid expansion of rocket burn time, culminating in full spaceflight, which we expect to achieve during 2013," according to the statement. "Our best estimate at the moment, if test flights continue as expected, is that we could see the first paying customer flights in 2014."