Virgin Galactic is preparing to send its first commercial crew to suborbital altitudes as part of the private space tourism company’s first mission.
The first mission, Galactic 01, is scheduled to launch Thursday at 11:00 a.m. ET from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic will livestream the launch websiteand you can also follow the live action via the feed below.
For its first fully commercial mission, Virgin Galactic VSS Unit The suborbital spaceplane will carry a crew of three from the Italian Air Force and Italy’s National Research Council.
The crew will be commanded by Walter Villadei, an Italian Air Force colonel who previously trained at NASA as a backup pilot for Axiom Space’s second commercial mission to the International Space Station. Villadei is accompanied by Angelo Landolfi, a doctor and lieutenant colonel in the Italian Air Force, and Pantaleone Carlucci, a researcher at the National Research Council of Italy. Accompanying the Italian crew will be Colin Bennett, Virgin Galactic’s astronaut instructor, who will assess the flight experience during the mission.
The flight will last approximately 90 minutes, during which the Galactic 01 crew will conduct a series of suborbital science experiments. The mission will carry 13 people payloads onboard to conduct a variety of research on topics ranging from cosmic rays and renewable liquid biofuels to motion sickness and cognitive disorders during spaceflight.
“Virgin Galactic’s exploration missions will usher in a new era of repeatable and reliable access to space for governments and research organizations in the years to come,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, in a statement opinion.
The company founded by billionaire Richard Branson announced that it was open for suborbital business earlier this month following the success of a Suborbital test flight on 25 May. The test flight, named unit 25saw the VMS eve Carrier planes launch while carrying this Unit Spaceplane under its wings before being released at an altitude of 44,500 feet (13,500 meters) above the ground. Once cleared, the spaceplane fired its rocket engines and lifted off to a maximum altitude of 54.2 miles (87 kilometers), which is just a few miles below the internationally recognized limit of space known as Karman line.
This was the first time the spaceplane had reached suborbital altitudes in nearly two years, paving the way for Virgin Galactic to officially launch its commercial flights. The follow-up mission, Galactic 02, is scheduled to start in early August. After that, the company plans to send a commercial crew to the edge of space each month at a cost of $450,000 per ticket.
Virgin Galactic couldn’t have come at a more unfortunate time to open its space tourism business in the wake of the tragedy titanium submersiblewhich imploded last week bringing billionaire tourists there titanic wreck site. The private expedition into the depths of the ocean shed light on the risks associated with extreme tourism, serves as a warning to future space tourists As part of a growing space industry, we strive to reach new heights.
Branson’s own private company has a controversial history when it comes to the safety of its crew. In 2014, Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo suffered an in-flight anomaly and crashed, resulting in the death of one of its pilots and the serious injury of another.
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