Virgin Galactic reschedules test flight due to New Mexico lockdown

FILE PHOTO: Sir Richard Branson stands outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of Virgin Galactic (SPCE) IPO in New York
FILE PHOTO: Sir Richard Branson stands outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the Virgin Galactic (SPCE) IPO in New York, U.S., October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

November 16, 2020

(Reuters) – Virgin Galactic <SPCE.N> has rescheduled a test flight planned from its New Mexico spaceport later this week after the U.S. state imposed fresh COVID-19 restrictions, billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism firm said on Monday.

The company is aiming to obtain a commercial operating license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration after conducting a certain number of test flights.

Virgin Galactic’s latest space test flight was planned for between Nov. 19-23, and will now be rescheduled for another time.

New Mexico has enacted a stay-at-home order through Nov. 30 amid surging coronavirus cases.

Virgin Galactic has said it has 600 customers who have signed up to fly a suborbital flight for $250,000 a ticket, and more than 400 more who have expressed interest.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)