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Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic 'On Track' To Launch Commercial Space Service In Q2

Space travel company Virgin Galactic Holdings IncSPCE, on Tuesday, said its commercial service launch remains on track for the second quarter of 2023.

What Happened: Billionaire Richard Branson‘s aerospace company suspended flights of spaceplane VSS Unity and its carrier plane VMS Eve to make enhancements in 2021. Since then, the company’s commercial service launch has been on hold.

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But the enhancements are nearing completion and the company is on track to make its debut customer mission to space by the second quarter.

“With our enhancement program complete and validation flights underway, we remain on track to launch commercial service in the second quarter of 2023,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said while the company’s financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2022, were announced.

Colglazier added, “It is great to see our mothership back in the skies, and we are thrilled to have VMS Eve rejoin spaceship Unity back home at Spaceport America.”

Why It’s Important: The two flights, VSS Unity and VMS Eve, have had four spaceflights thus far. In July 2021, the spaceflight carried Branson and three other passengers to space from New Mexico.

Before the upcoming first commercial mission, Virgin Galactic will embark on a research mission for the Italian Air Force. The mission was originally scheduled for mid-October 2021. Since then, the mission has been postponed multiple times.

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