Virgin Galactic postpones SpaceShipTwo spaceflights to 2021 due to COVID-19

People looking forward to going on space tours aboard Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceflight SpaceShipTwo will have to wait till next year for the first flight.

This delay came due to the coronavirus pandemic, accepted the firm in its financial results of 2020's second quarter. “During the period, our operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, despite our efforts to minimise disruption," said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's chief space officer and former CEO.

 Virgin Galactic postpones SpaceShipTwo spaceflights to 2021 due to COVID-19

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, up close. Image: Thomas Storesund/Virgin Galactic

Before the first passenger flight, the company will send at least two test spaceflights. The financial report elaborated that the first test flight will be carrying two pilots in the cockpit and flying this fall. This will be followed by two pilots and four mission specialists.

After the successful second powered space flight, Virgin Galactic expects the first flight carrying founder Sir Richard Branson to take off in the first quarter of 2021. “As always, safety remains the central focus, and the test flight program will progress with a step-by-step, diligent approach,” the company said.

After being founded in July 2004, Virgin Galactic has been working on making space tourism feasible. British billionaire Branson is supposed to be the first traveller of SpaceShipTwo. The spaceflight system consists of WhiteKnightTwo, a carrier aircraft and SpaceShipTwo.

Earlier in July, the company had revealed the interior design and amenities of the SpaceShipTwo cabin. All of the seats would have customisable abilities to adjust gravitational forces and mood lighting.

Tickets for a seat aboard the world's first spaceflight are available here.

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