Another setback has befallen Virgin Galactic. The company informed CNBC on Thursday that it has postponed the launch of its commercial space tourism service until the fourth quarter of 2022.
It had previously stated that it hoped to begin offering paid spaceflights in the third quarter of next year.
As a result of the delay, the company will begin refurbishing its carrier plane and spacecraft this month. According to Virgin Galactic, the entire process will take between eight and ten months.
As a result of the change, Unity 23, the company’s next flight, will not take off until at least mid-2022.
“The re-sequencing of our enhancement period and the Unity 23 flight underscores our safety-first procedures, provides the most efficient path to commercial service, and is the right approach for our business and our customers,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a on its official website.
The delay has nothing to do with the FAA’s recent investigation into Unity 22, the flight that took the company’s founder Richard Branson to the edge of space.
Following the completion of the investigation, the federal agency cleared the company for future flights.