The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority has granted Virgin Galactic’s aircraft builder, Scaled, a permit to test launch vehicles using rocket motors. Two spacecrafts, the Spaceship Two and WhiteNightTwo have been approved to fly free, carrying the full weight of a rocket motor on board–the motor and craft have previously been tested independently. According to Virgin, Spaceship Two is the first human-carrying vehicle to receive such approval. This news comes just as another historic moment for private space flight winds down–over the last week, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule successfully launched and docked with the ISS in spac, becoming the first privately built rocket to do so. As of this morning, Dragon has undocked and begun its journey back to Earth.
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