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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."
 
Virgin Galactic's two-vehicle spaceflight system is being developed and tested in Mojave, Calif. The first full test flight to space will happen there. But plans call for the vehicles to move to Spaceport America — just north of Doña Ana County — to host suborbital tourism flights, including the inaugural flight with Branson and his family. More from WRQE.com.

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