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Virgin Galactic approved to lauch space flights later this year

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Richard Branson’s dream to charter commercial space flights has taken a step closer to reality.

His company, Virgin Galactic, yesterday signed a deal with U.S. aviation authorities to let it blast paying customers into space.

Commercial flights are to begin by the end of this year and more than 600 people have already signed up at $250,000 (£150,000) each to take a trip on SpaceShipTwo.

The agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets out how routine space missions from the Spaceport America base in New Mexico will be coordinated with the normal air traffic control system.
‘Our team is working hard to begin routine and affordable space launches from Spaceport America and this agreement brings us another step closer to that goal,’ said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides.

The Virgin announcement came hours before Branson’s main rival in the commercial space race was to unveil its latest spacecraft.

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