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After Deadly Crash, Virgin Galactic to Fly Its Spaceplane Once More

© Photo : Rex FeaturesVirgin Galactic SpaceShip Two
Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two - Sputnik International
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Two years after Virgin Galactic's deadly crash, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued an operating license for their space tourism rocket -- which will ultimately permit the company to begin commercial operations.

Professor Stephen Hawking - Sputnik International
Stephen Hawking to Unveil Virgin Galactic’s New SpaceShipTwo in February
In 2014, their first spacecraft — the SpaceShipTwo — was destroyed when a co-pilot unlocked the braking system too early. The co-pilot was killed, and the pilot was severely injured but survived.

The crash was determined by the National Transportation Safety Board to have been a combination of human error and inadequate safety procedures.

On Monday, the company announced that they received their operator license for a new SpaceShipTwo aircraft, and they later performed a taxi test — pulling it on a runway using a Land Rover.

“The granting of our operator license is an important milestone for Virgin Galactic, as is our first taxi test for our new spaceship,” senior vice president of operations Mike Moses told Fortune. “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.”

The company hopes at the very least to begin using the spacecraft to send satellites (and perhaps even human customers) into space next year.

More than 700 people have already paid deposits to get in line for the trips, which will be priced at $250,000. Stephen Hawking, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, and Katy Perry are among those hoping to get blasted out of the atmosphere, Fortune reported.

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