LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – Virgin Galactic is preparing to take Richard Branson into space, Maybe just in time to beat Jeff Bezos.
On Thursday, the commercial space travel company announced the latest flight window for the test flight of its SpaceShipTwo Unity, which will open on July 11, subject to weather and technical checks.
The so-called “Unity 22” mission will be the 22nd flight test for the spacecraft VSS Unity and Virgin’s fourth crewed spaceflight, the company said in a news release. but it will First Virgin Galactic spaceflight flight carrying full crew, the company said.
That crew will include two pilots and four mission specialists, including company founder Branson. The company said on Branson’s flight There will be a “test of the personal astronaut experience”.
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Virgin Galactic Unity 22
Virgin Galactic said the Unity 22 will focus on cabin and customer experience, including cabin environment, seat comfort, weightless experience, Earth-view from the ship, and experimentation conditions.
“After more than 16 years of research, engineering and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the forefront of a new commercial space industry, one that is poised to open up space to mankind and change the world,” Branson said in the release.
“It’s one thing to dream of making the place more accessible to everyone; it’s another to have an incredible team collectively turn that dream into reality,” Branson continued. “Our future astronauts are honored to help validate the journey that our future astronauts will undertake and ensure that we deliver the unique customer experience people have come to expect from Virgin.”
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While a flight date for Unity 22 isn’t set, Amazon founder Bezos will reportedly fly to space using July 20th A suborbital rocket system system built by Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin.
Unity 22 will also share a global livestream of Virgin Galactic spaceflight for the first time, the company said.
virgin plans To offer commercial space tourism By flying passengers in suborbital flights.
Virgin Galactic’s final test phase
Branson’s upcoming flight is part of the company’s final testing phase, during which it plans to resume ticket sales for commercial customers. At present around 600 people have tickets.
“Following this flight, and in line with normal procedures, the team will complete an inspection of the vehicles and a comprehensive data review, which will inform next steps in the test flight program,” Virgin said in its release.
Virgin said it planned two more test flights before the start of commercial service in 2022.
Beginning about an hour north of Las Cruces from Spaceport America, a commercial voyage will begin with a carrier aircraft that will bring one of the company’s spacecraft into near space. The spacecraft will then rocket into space and land without going into orbit around Earth.
The trips are estimated to take about 90 minutes and include a weightless section.
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“We couldn’t be more excited to share this momentous moment with the world,” New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “New Mexico has always been a hotbed of exploration, and that’s where space tourism begins.”
Tourism Secretary Jane Paul Schroer said the announcement heralds “an entirely new era for tourism” in New Mexico.
“This is a big moment for Spaceport America and New Mexico. By investing in the aerospace industry, New Mexico continues to demonstrate its commitment to diversify its economy,” said New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keys. Keys also serves as the chairman of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.