Virgin Galactic pushes 1st commercial passenger flight to spring 2023• https://www.space.com, By Elizabeth Howell
Virgin Galactic is pushing its first space tourist mission back by another three months.
Suborbital space tourism provider Virgin Galactic announced (opens in new tab) Thursday (Aug. 4) that it will delay the start of its commercial service once again to the second quarter of 2023, due to upgrade delays for the company's mothership, VSS Eve.
Virgin Galactic sends paying passengers to space with two vehicles. It uses the carrier aircraft VMS Eve, which brings the spaceship VSS Unity to an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters). At that point, Unity drops away and soars to suborbital space using rocket engines.
Upgrade work on Eve was previously pushed back due to pandemic-related supply chain issues. That said, Virgin has been making other infrastructure announcements in recent weeks. An example is a new astronaut training facility near Spaceport America, Virgin's primary launch site.