Virgin Galactic is one step closer to making us all space tourists: it just received its operator license from the US Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST). To get the paperwork, which allows Virgin Galactic to use its ship for commercial operations. THE FAA looked into the vehicle's system design, safety features and flight trajectory analysis. Virgin Galactic's Senior VP of Operations Mike Moses said: "The granting of our operator license is an important milestone for Virgin Galactic, as is our first taxi test for our new spaceship. While we still have much work ahead to fully test this spaceship in flight, I am confident that our world-class team is up to the challenge."
As Moses mentioned, the company also took its SpaceShipTwo (the VSS Unity) for a brief taxi test across the tarmac. There's still plenty more tests and work to be done -- fully-powered, independent flights won't start until some time next year.