Virgin Galactic plans to send Richard Branson to space on July 11th

Sir Richard Branson would possibly get to go to outer space earlier than Jeff Bezos does. Virgin Galactic has introduced that it is opening the flight window for SpaceShipTwo Unity’s subsequent rocket-powered take a look at flight on July 11th, over every week earlier than Blue Origin’s first vacationer flight is scheduled to launch on July twentieth with Bezos onboard. The Unity 22 mission would be the firm’s fourth crewed flight, however will probably be the primary to carry a full crew with two pilots and 4 mission specialists within the cabin. One of these passengers is corporate founder Richard Branson, who’ll be assessing the non-public astronaut expertise Virgin Galactic plans to provide paying clients.

The firm concluded that it was prepared to launch Unity 22 after it completed analyzing information from its May 22nd test flight, according to Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier. The firm accomplished the rocket-powered flight in May — the primary human spaceflight out of Virgin’s New Mexico-based Spaceport America — after months of delay. It was initially scheduled to blast off in December 2020, however the launch did not happen as a result of SpaceShipTwo’s rocket motor failed to ignite. 

Now, the corporate believes it is prepared to take one other step in direction of providing industrial flights. The upcoming mission will focus on evaluating the spacecraft’s cabin surroundings, seat consolation, the weightless expertise and the views of Earth that it could actually provide paying passengers. It can even reveal the situations for conducting human-tended analysis experiments.

In addition to Branson and the 2 pilots, the opposite passengers are made up of Virgin Galactic personnel. Virgin’s Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses will oversee the execution of the take a look at flight aims, whereas Lead Operations Engineer Colin Bennett can be evaluating cabin tools, procedures and expertise. Finally, Sirisha Bandla, VP of Government Affairs and Research Operations, can be answerable for conducting the human-tended experiments onboard. 

Virgin will broadcast a livestream of the spaceflight on its website, in addition to on its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. The livestream will start at 9AM on the day of the flight, which might nonetheless be delayed, relying on climate and technical situations. If the mission succeeds, the corporate intends to restart ticket gross sales quickly and to conduct two extra flights earlier than it begins its paid flights subsequent yr. 

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