Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity successfully carried a crew of mission specialists and Richard Branson to the edge of space on July 11, 2021.
The flight is Virgin Galactic’s fourth crewed flight and already the twenty-second VSS Unity flight test. However, the attempt gathered the most attention because of the crew. In addition to two pilots and three mission specialists in the cabin, the company’s founder Richard Branson was also present on board.
The flight, also known as the Unity 22 mission, was officially announced on July 1, 2021. July 11th was the first day of the available flight window, the company said at a time. Skeptics noticed that the date was set just nine days earlier than competitor Blue Origin’s first astronaut crewed flight to space, planned on July 20, 2021.
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The US Federal Aviation Administration gave Virgin (VAH) the green light to take paying customers into space in late June 2021. The company plans to make two more test flights before commencing commercial service in 2022.
The livestream of the flight: