in Space

Virgin Galactic completes first fully crewed spaceflight

Posted 11 July 2021 · Add Comment

Virgin Galactic today announced that VSS Unity successfully reached space, completing the Company’s fourth rocket-powered spaceflight.



Above: Unity22 crew at zero gravity.
Copyright Virgin Galactic


Today’s flight was the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity and the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin, including the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson. The crew fulfilled a number of test objectives related to the cabin and customer experience, including evaluating the commercial customer cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training program at Spaceport America.

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. With each successful mission we are paving the way for the next generation of astronauts. I want to thank our talented team, including our pilots and crew, whose dedication and commitment made today possible. They are 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 vehicle reached space, at an altitude of 53.5 miles, before gliding smoothly to a 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 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.

“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.


 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Wizz Air and Doncaster Sheffield Airport sign future growth deal

As the UK aviation sector recovers from the devastating impact of the pandemic, Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) and Wizz Air, have strengthened plans for future growth with the signing of a new deal.

SSTL secures ESA InCubed funding to improve data throughput for small EO satellites

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has secured European Space Agency InCubed programme financial and technical support to demonstrate a high throughput, flexible and intelligent payload downlink chain for small Earth

Babcock showcasing innovative tech solutions at AWE 21

Babcock is showcasing the innovative technological solutions needed for an ever changing digital landscape to help drive collective training transformation and improve outcomes at one of the biggest defence events of the year – the

UK and NASA join forces on new mission to study ‘magnetic bubble’ around Sun

The UK Space Agency and NASA have agreed to work together on a mission to observe and map the heliosphere - the area of space surrounding the Sun filled with charged particles known as the solar wind.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC appointed new Chief of the Defence Staff

Her Majesty the Queen has approved the appointment of Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC to take over from General Sir Nicholas Carter GCB CBE DSO ADC Gen as the next Chief of the Defence Staff.

EasyJet launches competition for kids to design zero-emission passenger plane

EasyJet - which became the world’s first major airline to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all its flights in 2019 - is now launching a competition to challenge the brightest young minds to design their vision for future

ODU UK SK0902311221
See us at
AdvancedEngin BT2809041121RAF Museum BT