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Virgin Galactic has pushed back the start date of its commercial space flights to the fourth quarter of 2022, the company said. said Thursday, as it focuses on improving the performance of commercial spacecraft after a test flagged a potential defect in material on its spacecraft.

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Virgin Galactic said it found that the materials used in the joints on the tested spacecraft showed a “decreased strength,” adding that more inspection is needed.

The company will launch an augmentation program, expected to last approximately eight months, that seeks to increase “reliability, durability and low maintenance requirements” for its commercial space vehicles VMS Eve and VSS Unity.

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The announcement comes a month after the company delayed Its first commercial space mission with the Italian Air Force due to a possible manufacturing defect found in a flight control system component. The mission was originally scheduled for early October at the latest. The company said that the issue has been resolved. Virgin Galactic was approved to fly again two weeks ago by the Federal Aviation Administration, which grounded its spacecraft in early September to test whether Virgin Galactic’s July 11 launch, carrying founder Richard Branson Why did you fly? Virgin Galactic said in August that it would start selling tickets for commercial flights next year starting at $450,000.

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Britain’s Prince William recently made headlines take a jibe Branson and other billionaires who are funding their own space programs, such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, are saying in an interview on the BBC podcast, “We need to try to repair this planet. It needs some of the greatest minds and minds in the world, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”

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