Despite the destruction that the pandemic has unleashed on the world, work is always continuing to open up the space frontier, And now Virgin Galactic is about to take another step in the development of commercial of space.
Virgin Galactic is set to carry passengers into space on its spaceplane VSS Unity for the first time later this month. The flight window for the Unity 22 mission, which will consist of two pilots and four mission specialists, one of whom is Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, begins on July 11. The anticipated launch of SpaceShipTwo Unity comes after the certification of the company by the US FAA to carry passengers. However, the company stresses that the launch date for the suborbital flight depends on the weather and technical readiness.
As the name suggests, Unity 22 will be the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity, and Virgin Galactic’s fourth flight into space.
The purpose of the test flight is to gather data about the spacecraft, including the cabin environment, seat comfort, passenger weightlessness, and the view of the Earth from the passenger area, as well as the efficacy of the Spaceport America training program for its customers. They will also be evaluating the “private astronaut experience.”
“I truly believe that space belongs to all of us,” says Richard Branson. “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.”