Update: Due to overnight weather conditions at the launch site, the mission was rescheduled for Sunday, July 11, at 10:30 AM EDT (14:30 GMT), but Virgin Galactic says the weather looks good for launch.
Virgin Galactic founder and billionaire Richard Branson is set to fly to the edge of space on Sunday, July 11, at 9 AM EDT (13:00 GMT). You can watch the live coverage here or from Virgin Galactic's YouTube channel.
Virgin will broadcast coverage of the flight with Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show on CBS, hosting the livestream, and after the crew arrives, Khalid, the musician, is set to play a new song.
Branson and the rest of his Unity 22 staff will launch from Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico on Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo vehicle.
The rest of the crew include Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic's chief astronaut instructor; Colin Bennett, Virgin Galactic lead operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, the Virgin Galactic vice president of government affairs and research operations. VSS Unity will be piloted by Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, while VMS Eve, the carrier aircraft, will be piloted by C.J. Sturckow and Kelly Latimer.
VSS Unity will take off beneath the wings of VMS Eve and, at an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters), Eve will drop Unity and the space plane will find its own way ahead to suborbital space. Eve and Unity will then both head down for landings at Spaceport America.
The mission is expected to last about 90 minutes in total. Sir Richard Branson said in a statement: “I truly believe that space belongs to all of us. After more than 16 years of research, engineering, and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry, which is set to open space to humankind and change the world for good. It’s one thing to have a dream of making space more accessible to all; it’s another for an incredible team to collectively turn that dream into reality. As part of a remarkable crew of mission specialists, I’m honored to help validate the journey our future astronauts will undertake and ensure we deliver the unique customer experience people expect from Virgin.”
The event naturally also caught the eye of a fellow space pioneer, Elon Musk, who wished Branson the best and said he would see him in space.
Will see you there to wish you the best— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2021