Virgin Galactic completed its first commercial flight on June 29, 2023, carrying a crew of six, three of whom were members of the Italian Air Force and the National Research Centre of Italy.
The mission, titled ‘Galactic 01’, lasted one hour and twelve minutes, with VSS Unity taking off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at 8.30 am local time on June 29, 2023, and landing at 9.42 am.
In addition to the six crew members, the flight carried 13 payloads which were used in a variety of scientific experiments in areas such as biomedical research, thermo-fluid dynamics and the development of innovative and sustainable materials in microgravity.
This flight also provided an opportunity to conduct research and collect data about the effects on the human body of the transition into states of hyper gravity and microgravity.
The successful completion of the mission now paves the way for the launch of ‘Galactic 02’ in August, which will be the first Virgin Galactic commercial spaceflight carrying private astronauts.
It is reported that Virgin Galactic has a waiting list of 600 people willing to launch into orbit, each set to pay between $200,000 and $250,000 for the ride.