Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SPCE), stated that it is on track to start space tourism flights in the second quarter 2023. The repairs to its mothership are complete, and it has made a change in its management team.
The VMS Eve mothership will begin ground tests next week, and then fly tests to verify the “enhancements” after New Mexico-based VSS Unity rocket malfunction caused delays in commercial flight.
In recent years, the company had to cancel several missions due to technical problems. The flight that brought Sir Richard Branson to the limits of space in summer 2021 was later discovered to have experienced a few wobbles which required investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration.
Swami Iyer, an ex-US Air Force test pilot and Aerospace boss, will be retiring immediately. However, he will continue to provide advisory services until March 3rd to Chief Executive Michael Colglazier.
Colglazier stated: “With completion of the enhancement programme for our mothership at the hand, our streamlined leader structure will help propel our business forward as we prepare to commercial spaceline operations.”
He stated that Iyer was “instrumental” to the establishment of the company’s future production strategy, and in preparing initial commercial flights for ships.
Virgin Galactic and Boeing agreed last summer that Aurora Flight Sciences, a subsidiary of Boeing, will design and build its next generation motherships.
Iyer’s departure will mean that Mike Moses, a former NASA astronaut space shuttle launch specialist, will take over as president of spaceline operations and safety. He has been with the company since 2011.
Mike Moore, an ex-technical chief at Delta Airlines, joined the company last year. Steve Justice, a Lockheed Martin (NYSE.LMT) veteran, is now responsible for spaceline programs engineering and programming.
Virgin Galactic announced that tickets for its first public spaceflights would be available to the public in February 2013. The tickets cost US$450,000 per ticket with a US$100,000. Initial deposit.
It reported a US$146mln increase in quarterly losses in November. Reservations were paused at 800. US$104.8mln was held in deposits from future astronauts. The balance sheet contained US$1.1bn liquid assets.