Virgin Galactic Welcomes the Era of Space Tourism

From Left to Right; Colin Bennet, Lead Operations Engineer. Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor. Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic Founder

Virgin Galactic has operated a successful passenger-carrying flight into space of its spacecraft VSS Unity, ushering in what the company’s founder Sir Richard Branson says is a new era of space tourism.

Last weekend’s flight from its base in America was the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity and the first with a full complement of passengers in the cabin, including Branson himself. The crew fulfilled a number of test objectives related to the cabin and customer experience, including evaluating the commercial customer cabin, and the views of Earth from space.

A first In-flight livestream brought the spaceflight experience to audiences around the world. Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, said:

“Today is a landmark achievement for the Company and a historic moment for the new commercial space industry, helping open the door for greater access to space – so it can be for the many and not just for the few.”

VSS Unity achieved a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mothership, VMS Eve. The plane reached space, at an altitude of 53.5 miles, before gliding smoothly back to the runway landing at Spaceport America.

This seminal moment for Virgin Galactic and Sir Richard Branson was witnessed by audiences around the world. It gave a glimpse of the journey Virgin Galactic’s future tourist astronauts can expect when the Company launches commercial service following the completion of its test flight program. A recording of the livestream can be accessed on Virgin Galactic’s YouTube channel.

Sir Richard Branson said:

“I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space. We are at the vanguard of a new space age. As Virgin’s founder, I was honoured to test the incredible customer experience as part of this remarkable crew of mission specialists and now astronauts. I can’t wait to share this experience with aspiring astronauts around the world.”

Branson continued,

“Our mission is to make space more accessible to all. In that spirit, and with today’s successful flight of VSS Unity, I’m thrilled to announce a partnership with Omaze and Space for Humanity to inspire the next generation of dreamers. For so long, we have looked back in wonder at the space pioneers of yesterday. Now, I want the astronauts of tomorrow to look forward and make their own dreams come true.”

 

The mission specialists in the cabin were Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor; Colin Bennett, Lead Flight Operations Engineer; Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations; and the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson. The VSS Unity pilots were Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, while Kelly Latimer and CJ Sturckow piloted VMS Eve.

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. is a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers, as well as a manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles. It is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique and transformative experience. You can find more information at https://www.virgingalactic.com/

 

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