Virgin Galactic postpones space tourism flights again

Virgin Galactic has announced that its commercial space tourism service has been delayed again from late this year until the second quarter of 2023. In its earnings report, the company said the delay was “due to the extended completion dates [i.e., delays] within the Mothership Enhancement Program.”

The mothership VMS Eve is a crucial part of its launch system, carrying the VSS Unity starship to 50,000 feet before launching to the edge of space. The improvement program started on July 7th with the aim of the improvement in flight frequency, along with “reliability, predictability and durability”.

At the same time, Virgin Galactic announced that Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences will design and manufacture its next-generation motherships, which are expected to enter service in 2025. The company is also working on a new spacecraft, the VSS Imagine, which is scheduled to conduct a first test flight in the first quarter of 2023.

Virgin Galactic had already postponed its first paid flights from Q3 to Q4 2022 out of “excess of caution” due to a possible problem with the flight control system. The next flight was scheduled to take three members of the Italian Air Force to the edge of space to study the human and environmental effects of the transition from normal Earth gravity to microgravity. Yesterday, the company reported a quarterly loss of $111 million and is planning a $300 million share offering.

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https://www.engadget.com/virgin-galactic-again-delays-space-tourism-flights-to-second-quarter-2023-084540843.html?src=rss Virgin Galactic postpones space tourism flights again

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