Richard Branson Leads Virgin Galactic's First Fully-Crewed Spaceflight
Marking a new milestone as companies aim to make spaceflight more accessible.
On Sunday, Virgin Space Ship Unity 22 took off from New Mexico, soaring more than 53.5 miles above the ground. Led by two pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, and three mission specialists Beth Moses, Colin Bennett and Sirisha Bandla, the crew and the vehicle safely returned to Earth, marking a historical milestone in making spaceflight commercial.
Following the test flight, Branson took the stage: “We’re here to make space more accessible to all… Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.” He added: “For so long, we have looked back in wonder at the space pioneers of yesterday. Now, I want the astronauts of tomorrow to look forward and make their own dreams come true.”
Watch the livestream below. Virgin Galactic is expected to run more test flights as it explores operating commercially with its private customers next year. Although the company has yet to announce the final price, each ride will cost somewhere around $250,000 USD.