By Chris Wack

 

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. said Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration updated its existing commercial space transportation operator license to allow the spaceline to fly customers to space.

The company also said that it has completed an extensive review of data gathered from its May 22 test flight and confirmed that it performed well against all flight objectives.

The adjustment to Virgin Galactic's operator's license, which the company has held since 2016, marks the first time the FAA has licensed a spaceline to fly customers.

The May 22 test flight of VMS Eve and VSS Unity was the company's third crewed spaceflight and the first-ever spaceflight from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The flight achieved a speed of Mach 3 and reached space at an altitude of 55.5 miles.

After an extensive review of the data collected during the flight, the company confirmed that the rocket-powered test of the spaceship's upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls demonstrated strong performance, in line with predictions. The cabin environment data was also in line with predictions, it said.

The flight successfully carried three revenue-generating research experiments that tested and demonstrated technologies in microgravity as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Flight Opportunities Program. The pilots flew VSS Unity on a specific trajectory designed to meet the objectives of these research experiments.

With the data analysis from the May flight now complete, Virgin Galactic will continue preparing for the remaining three test flights, it said.

Virgin Galactic shares were up 5% to $42.25 in premarket trading.

 

Write to Chris Wack at chris.wack@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 25, 2021 07:14 ET (11:14 GMT)

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