Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) announced the receipt of an updated license on Friday from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The update now allows the Company to fly customers to space, and marks the first time the FAA has licensed a spaceline to fly customers.
As a result, Virgin Galactic’s share price reached USD 56.40, its highest point since February, during the midday trading session on Friday.
A month prior, on May 22nd, the Company had completed its thirdspaceflight and the first ever spaceflight from Spaceport America, New Mexico. Less than two weeks later, on June 3rd, Virgin Galactic announceda new contract to fly a researcher for the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS), on a dedicated research flight.
The Company is also reportedto have more than 600 reservations for 90-minute flights that include several minutes of weightlessness, with the tickets going for a price of $250,000 each. Despite the steep price point, the development comes at an important time as Richard Branson’s company seeks to stave off competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Yet, despite the increasing competition in the space, Virgin Galactic is the only group that has regularly flown humans sub-orbitally since the 1960s, accordingto NBC News.