Virgin Galactic once again postponed the start of mass commercial flights of the spaceShipTwo suborbital spacecraft, explaining that the repair and upgrading of its VMS Eve aircraft would take longer than expected. According to the new schedule, SpaceShipTwo flights with tourists on board would begin in the second quarter of 2023.
In the previous revenue report, submitted in May, the United States aerospace company announced that the start of VSS Unity commercial flights would be postponed from the fourth quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023.
In contrast to the previous time when Virgin Galactic explained the postponement of the start of flights by malfunctions in the component supply chain and a shortage of qualified personnel, this time the company reported that the repair work of VMS Eve, which is about 14 years old, would take longer than planned; however, the problem with qualified professionals remains on the agenda.
A jet-powered aircraft plays a key role in Virgin Galactic flight, lifting the VSS Unit spacecraft with tourists at an altitude of about 50,000 feet for launch.
To date, the company has sold more than 800 flight tickets from the original trench of 1,000 units, and Director General Virgin Galactic Michael Kolgleyzer has announced the company's plans to reserve 100 of the remaining space capsules for sale to private and public researchers; most of the remaining places will be sold through Virtuoso, a company specializing in the provision of tourism services of a premium class.