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Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Space Flights Cleared for US Take-Off

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Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic Airways, is shown at a news conference. (AP Photo)

Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic Airways, is shown at a news conference. (AP Photo)

 

(The Telegraph) – Richard Branson’s dream of commercial space flights took a step nearer reality after Virgin Galactic signed a deal with US aviation authorities to let it blast paying customers into space, the company said Thursday.

The agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets out how routine space missions from the Spaceport America base in the US state of New Mexico will be coordinated with the normal air traffic control system.

Commercial flights are to begin by the end of this year and more than 600 people have already signed up at $250,000 each to take a trip on SpaceShipTwo.

“Our team is working hard to begin routine and affordable space launches from Spaceport America and this agreement brings us another step closer to that goal,” said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides.

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