Natalie Paris Ap, The Daily Telegraph, September 12, 2014
Space flights with Virgin Galactic, originally slated to start in 2011, have once again been postponed due to problems with the development of a rocket motor.
Richard Branson, Virgin’s owner, told David Letterman this week that he hopes to board the first flight early next year. The last timeline being worked on by the company predicted that the first flight would launch from New Mexico's Spaceport America by the end of 2014 .
Virgin Galactic signed a deal with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US in May that sets out how routine space missions from the spaceport will be coordinated with the normal air traffic control system.
Virgin Galactic officials say they are emphasizing safety over meeting timelines.
"Customers are eager to fly, but they know we'll fly them when we feel ready," George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic CEO, said on Wednesday. "Obviously we want to do it as quickly as possible, but we don't want to rush it."
The company has been testing a WhiteKnightTwo "mothership", which will take the rocket-powered spaceship up to 50,000ft and launch it into space, in the Mojave Desert this week.
It plans to offer tourist flights into space for $250,000 a person, with more than 70 people apparently signed up for the trip.
One of Branson's main rival in the commercial space race is Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer of SpaceX, who unveiled his company's "next generation" Dragon V2 spacecraft earlier this year.
The World View experience, meanwhile, will give passengers the opportunity to fly 100,000ft - almost 20 miles - above Earth from 2016, with tickets costing £45,000 per person. Within a year, flights on board a capsule called Bloon will take passengers to a height of 116,000ft, with tickets costing £87,000 per person.
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This article was written by Natalie Paris and Ap from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.