Space news roundup: SpaceX, ULA, Virgin Galactic

SpaceX (Private:SPACE) is leading a probe into its recent Falcon 9 rocket explosion, but some say it may be another 9-12 months before the firm returns to flight.

That may be good news for rival United Launch Alliance (LMT, BA), which launched an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida on Thursday to collect samples from near-Earth asteroid Bennu.

Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship had its first test flight yesterday afternoon, the first since an October 2014 crash that killed one of two test pilots.