Virgin Galactic says new license is `important milestone’

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Virgin Galactic a commercial license to operate its SpaceShipTwo — the latest milestone in the aspiring spaceline’s quest to one day fly from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.

The operator license “enables the thorough testing that is a prerequisite for commercial operations and moves the day of the first commercial flight at Spaceport America even closer,” outgoing Spaceport America Executive Director Christine Anderson said in a statement.

Spaceport America has scrambled to retool its business plan after Virgin Galactic’s last, tragic test flight made it clear that the company would not be flying paying passengers to space any time soon. A five-year plan released in 2015 said Spaceport would target new tenants in the emerging “new space” industry and market the facility as a location for commercials, tourism and special events.

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