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Virgin Galactic will resume test flights this year

February 3, 2015, 8:30 PM UTC
Virgin Galactic's CEO George T. Whitesides stands in front of their new spaceship N202VG, which the company began building 2 and a half years ago, in a hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California
Virgin Galactic's CEO George T. Whitesides stands in front of their new spaceship N202VG, which the company began building 2 and a half years ago, in a hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California November 4, 2014. A Virgin Galactic's passenger spacecraft dubbed SpaceShipTwo broke into pieces over California's Mojave Desert on October 31 and crashed shortly on, near the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 95 miles (150 km) north of Los Angeles. SpaceShipTwo, developed by the fledgling space tourism company of billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, was designed to carry wealthy passengers on short rides into space. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR4CUEM
Photograph by Lucy Nicholson — Reuters

This post is in partnership with Time. The article below was originally published at Time.com.

By Rachel Janik, TIME

The space tourism company Virgin Galactic is set to resume test flights this year after a deadly crash last year, its CEO said, defying expectations that it wouldn’t be ready to take flight again until at least 2016.

“I really think we’re turning the corner,” CEO George Whitesides told the Associated Press. “We’ve gone through one of the toughest things a company can go through and we’re still standing, and now we’re really moving forward with pace.”

The company, founded by billionaire Richard Branson, is completing construction of a new shuttle after one broke apart during a test flight in October, leaving one pilot dead. The accident was the most recent in a long line of setbacks. Successful in-flight testing is one of the company’s last major obstacles to the elusive of commercial space travel.