Virgin Atlantic has Received Clearance by US Flight Regulators to Resume Spaceflights

  • When this flight is set to happen
  • The process of this aircraft making its trek into space

Richard Branson’s high altitude jaunt on the Unity 22 flight in July attracted the ire of the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) after the rocketplane, SpaceShipTwo, ventured outside of its allocated airspace. The recommendations, according to Virgin Galactic, include expanding the protected airspace to allow for a greater variety of trajectories and adding steps to ensure real-time mission notifications are sent to FAA Air Traffic Control.

A mid-October flight sets up another showdown between Branson and rival spacelord Jeff Bezos and his unfortunately shaped New Shepard rocket, which is due to fly again on 12 October with a crew including Planet Labs co-founder Dr Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries.

Blue Origin’s approach to sub-orbital flight is through a booster and capsule arrangement, with the former making a powered landing and the latter returning to Earth via parachute. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo takes off attached to a carrier aircraft, dubbed Eve, and is released at between 15km and 16km up before igniting its rocket engine to continue its flight. It subsequently glides back to a runway landing.

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