Virgin Galactic's first space tourists set to take off on June 29

Virgin Galactic's spaceflight system will also include two pilots aboard the carrier plane VMS Eve, and two pilots aboard the SpaceShipTwo space plane VSS Unity.
Mrigakshi Dixit
VSS Unity.
VSS Unity.

Virgin Galactic 

On Monday, June 26, billionaire Richard Branson's company Virgin Galactic announced the crew members for its inaugural commercial spaceflight mission.

The Galactic 01 mission is scheduled to take off on June 29 from New Mexico's Spaceport America. 

According to, Virgin Galactic's suborbital spaceflight system will consist of four pilots on two units: a carrier plane called VMS Eve and a pilot space plane called VSS Unity.

During the upcoming mission, Kelly Latimer will serve as the commander and Jameel Janjua as the pilot aboard VMS Eve. Meanwhile, the pilots for VSS Unity will be Mike Masucci and Nicola Pecile.

Other passengers include Pantaleone Carlucci, an engineer at the National Research Council of Italy, Colin Bennett, an astronaut instructor at Virgin Galactic, Col. Walter Villadei of the Italian Air Force, and Lt. Col. Angelo Landolfi, an Italian Air Force physician. 

Galactic 01 mission experiments 

The first commercial trip will focus on scientific experiments, with the cabin of VSS Unity  "transformed into a suborbital science lab to provide the environment for rack-mounted payloads and for the crew to interact with wearable payloads," stated a press release.

For this mission, Virgin Galactic has collaborated with the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council to meticulously design a number of experiments. This collaborative research endeavor is known as "Virtute 1."

A total of 13 experiments, including both autonomous and guided ones, have been scheduled for the 90-minute flight.

Some of the proposed studies will look into biomedical fluid dynamics and the development of sustainable materials in microgravity. In terms of scientific-health experiments, the crew aboard will investigate space motion sickness and cell culture performance in suborbital flight. 

Another key goal is to collect data using wearable payloads and sensors, as well as autonomous payloads installed onboard the cabin. These devices will track cosmic radiation in the mesosphere (the third layer of the atmosphere). Additionally, they will also test a new type of space suit designed specifically for space activities. 

VMS Eve is expected to release VSS Unity at 50,000 feet

As per reports, VMS Eve is expected to release VSS Unity at an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,000 meters) to initiate the next phase of the mission at higher altitudes. In this stage, Unity will launch its rocket motor into suborbital space.

In a standard flight, the crew members have the opportunity to encounter several minutes of weightlessness while observing the curvature of our planet against the backdrop of the vast darkness of space.

The Unity spaceship can carry six passengers into orbit. It has traveled to suborbital space five times, including the most recent test flight on May 25. 

Earlier this month, the space tourism company announced that the second commercial spaceflight will take place likely in early August. Following which, the company plans to begin monthly commercial flights.

You can watch the live on Virgin Galactic's official website on June 29, which is scheduled to begin at 3:00 PM GMT.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board