Virgin Galactic pushes first flight _ again

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic has again pushed back its timeline for launching space tourism flights from southern New Mexico's Spaceport America.

Virgin owner and British billionaire Richard Branson told David Letterman this week that he hopes to board the first flight early next year. The company previously said it wanted to get the first flight launched by the end of the year.

The company for years has been pushing back its launch date as it works to overcome challenges developing its rocket.

When New Mexico first agreed to build the quarter-billion dollar spaceport with Virgin Galactic as an anchor tenant, officials predicted flights would start in 2011.

Virgin Galactic's plan is to take tourists into space for $200,000 a head.