Nov. 16 (UPI) — A surge in COVID-19 circumstances has pressured Virgin Galactic to droop a deliberate take a look at flight this month at its spaceport in New Mexico, the corporate mentioned Monday.
Virgin Galactic was planning the primary of two take a look at flights between Nov. 19 and Nov. 23 — which might be adopted, finally, by business spaceflights.
New coronavirus restrictions in New Mexico, nonetheless, have led the corporate to postpone the primary take a look at flight. A make-up date was not given.
“With the well being and security of our group members in thoughts, and in accordance with the latest course from the New Mexico Division of Well being, we shall be minimizing our New Mexico operations to the best diploma potential,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier mentioned in a press release.
“We take this pause in stride and shall be ready to renew our preflight procedures.”
New restrictions took impact in New Mexico on Monday and can final till the tip of November.
Earlier than the postponement, Virgin founder Richard Branson was presupposed to take a spaceflight subsequent 12 months after the exams had been accomplished. After that, the corporate had deliberate to start taking paying prospects.
“Our group members at Virgin Galactic, our future astronauts, and our followers world wide stay extremely excited for our upcoming spaceflight,” Colglazier added.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham final week suspended non-essential actions to curb what she referred to as an “unprecedented spike of COVID-19 diseases.” State well being officers say virtually one in 5 New Mexicans who’ve been hospitalized with COVID-19 have died.