The proposed sale of a stake in Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space company to Arab investors has sparked a US national security investigation.

The Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) has already begun an investigation, pertaining to the proposed sale of Galactic’s 32% stake to Aabar Investments for $280m (£170m), according to

The CFIUS action has raised concern that the deal could be amended or blocked.

Virgin has been asked to refile its application and provide more detail, due to the complex nature of the investment proposal.

Normally, it takes 30 days for CFIUS to review a case, and either approve it or move it on to a 45-day statutory investigation.

Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn said he had absolute confidence that the deal would be completed as billed.