Virgin Galactic delays its next rocket-powered test flight

CNBC reports, Virgin has delayed the SpaceShipTwo test flight after determining that it needed extra time for “technical checks” while conducting pre-flight work. The space tourism company didn’t say when it might try again, although it previously said it could try later in February if a hoped-for launch on the 13th wasn’t viable.

“We have decided to allow more time for technical checks,” the company tweeted Friday. “We are working to identify the next flight opportunity.”

Virgin Galactic had identified a flight window opening Saturday to run through the month so another test could be scheduled soon. Virgin, founded and partly owned by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, said earlier this month that a new flight window for the vessel would start Saturday.

The company is under pressure to finally offer space tours after years of development, and the delays only add to the frustration. It doesn’t help that rivals like SpaceX have space tourism plans of their own it won’t be a good look if Virgin is late despite all its efforts to launch first.

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