Virgin Galactic has received permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly into space with passengers on board.

This means that Richard Branson's aerospace company will be able to conduct its first commercial flight this summer.

According to the press release on the website, the renewal of the Virgin Galactic operator's license, which was issued to the company in 2016, means that the FAA has approved it for customer flights.

Virgin Galactic Successfully Completed First New Mexico Test Flight
Virgin Galactic engineers completed maintenance on the VMS Eve carrier aircraft, which is used to launch the VSS Unity spacecraft. The company was forced to postpone the date of the next test flight because of the need for maintenance.

“Today’s approval by the FAA of our full commercial launch license, in conjunction with the success of our May 22 test flight, give us confidence as we proceed toward our first fully crewed test flight this summer,” the company said.

Virgin Galactic has conducted three trials in the past two years, and is now due to conduct three more. Four passengers will take part in the next test flight. They will have to test the cockpits of the spacecraft. If successful, the 70-year-old founder of the company will go into orbit. At the final stage, a team of the Italian Air Force will fly into space.