- Title: Branson's Virgin Galactic cleared for takeoff as space tourism race heats up
- Date: 25th June 2021
- Summary: MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VIRGIN GALACTIC HANGAR VARIOUS OF SPACESHIPTWO VSS UNITY IN HANGAR
- Embargoed: 9th July 2021 13:49
- Keywords: Billionaire Richard Branson Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval fly people space spaceship company Virgin Galactic the U.S. aviation safety regulator
- Location: IN SPACE / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION / MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES/ IN FLIGHT OVER MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: IN SPACE / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION / MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES/ IN FLIGHT OVER MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Science,Space Exploration,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA002EIWG407
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Billionaire Richard Branson's spaceship company Virgin Galactic said on Friday (June 25) it received approval from the U.S. aviation safety regulator to fly people to space, turning up the pressure on rivals in the nascent and expensive space tourism sector.
The approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) comes at a critical time for Branson as his space venture faces off against Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Tesla Inc boss Elon Musk's SpaceX.
Branson, Bezos, and Musk have been investing billions of dollars on their rocket startups.
Branson, who is reportedly flying to space himself in a bid to beat rival billionaire Bezos to the final frontier, received the green light just a month after a successful test flight.
Virgin Galactic last month completed its first manned space flight from its new homeport in New Mexico in May, as its SpaceShipTwo craft with a capacity of six passengers glided to a landing on a runway safely with its two pilots.
"Today's approval by the FAA ... gives us confidence as we proceed toward our first fully crewed test flight this summer," Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said in a statement.
(Production: Marissa Davison, Liliana Ciobanu)
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