(Reuters) – Virgin Galactic’s first test passenger received her commercial astronaut wings from the U.S. aviation regulator on Tuesday after flying on the company’s rocket plane to evaluate the customer experience in February.
Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, Beth Moses, who is a former NASA engineer, became the first woman to fly to space on a commercial vehicle when she joined pilots David Mackay and Mike Masucci on SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity.
Wings - Crew - Space - Symposium - Colorado
The wings were presented to the three-person crew at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado by the Federal Aviation Administration’s associate administrator for commercial space, Wayne Monteith. “Commercial human space flight is now a reality,” he said.
The February test flight nudged Richard Branson’s space travel company closer to delivering suborbital flights for the more than 600 people who have paid Virgin Galactic about $80 million in deposits. Branson has said he hopes to be the first passenger on a commercial flight in 2019.
Flight - Passengers - Minutes - Weightlessness - Earth
The 90-minute flight, during which passengers will be able to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the Earth’s curvature, costs $250,000 – a price that the company said will increase before it falls.
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