The company's successful test flight over the weekend marked another step forward in its plans to launch tourists into space, while also carrying some important research payloads along for NASA.
Virgin Galactic had originally set its sights on reaching space for a third time last December, following successful attempts in 2018 and 2019. The company's dual-fuselage VMS Eve mothership carried the VSS Unity spaceplane to orbit and released it as planned, though its rocket failed to fire, which brought a swift but safe end to the mission.
After carrying out its investigations into the cause for the failure, the company had originally planned to make another attempt in February, though this was then pushed back to May as it completed a maintenance review of the VMS Eve mothership. The company also introduced a third-generation spaceship in March, called VSS Imagine, with its first glide tests expected to take place this US summer.