The US Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST) has awarded Virgin Galactic an operator license for SpaceShipTwo.
The license award, which will ultimately permit commercial operations of the vehicle, was the culmination of several years of in-depth interaction with the FAA. The license review process consists of an in-depth review of the vehicle’s system design, safety analysis and flight trajectory analysis, culminating in FAA-AST approval.
On August 1, 2016, the Virgin Galactic team began conducting a taxi test with SpaceShipTwo (named VSS Unity) and a tow vehicle. Taxi testing is an important step in the flight test program and was used to check out the navigation systems and braking.
Virgin Galactic senior vice president of operations Mike Moses said, “The granting of our operator license is an important milestone for Virgin Galactic, as is our first taxi test for our new spaceship. While we still have much work ahead to fully test this spaceship in flight, I am confident that our world-class team is up to the challenge.”
August 5, 2016