Following a successful Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity flight in July 2021, the space company now targets late September 2021 for the mission called Unity 23 – company’s fifth crewed test flight to the edge of space.
“Unity 23, is targeted to occur in late-September from Spaceport America in New Mexico. This flight will be a revenue-generating flight with the Italian Air Force,” Virgin Galactic told AeroTime News on August 6, 2021.
After Virgin Galactic conducts the spaceflight, one additional test flight is planned before the space travel company expects to commence commercial services in 2022.
Additionally, Virgin Galactic reopened ticket sales with prices beginning at $450,000 per seat. In the future, the company will have three consumer offerings: a single seat, a package for couples, friends or family, and a full-flight buyout.
On July 11, 2021, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity successfully carried a crew of mission specialists as well as Richard Branson to the edge of space ‒ nine days earlier than its space tourism rival Bezos’ Blue Origin. The flight was Virgin Galactic’s fourth crewed flight and the twenty-second VSS Unity flight test.
“There are no words to describe the feeling. This is space travel. This is a dream turned reality,” Branson tweeted on July 12, 2021.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave Virgin Galactic the green light to take paying customers into space in late June 2021.
On July 20, 2021, the New Shepard rocket took off, bearing fruit to 22 years of work for Blue Origin. It became the second pioneering space tourism company to carry out a successful maiden flight on its own spacecraft.