At 8:30am MT, the Galactic 01 spaceflight took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, reaching an altitude of around 53 miles.
The spaceflight evaluated and measured hypergravity to microgravity transition effects on the human body, including both biological and physical data properties. It also collected data through wearable research payloads and sensors, and by autonomous research payloads mounted in the cabin on Virgin Galactic’s payload rack system.
Virgin Galactic CEO, Michael Colglazier, said, “Today, our team successfully flew six people and more than a dozen research payloads to space in VSS Unity, our unique, suborbital science lab. This historic flight was our first commercial flight and our first dedicated commercial research mission – ushering in a new era of repeatable and reliable access to space for private passengers and researchers. Galactic 02, our first spaceflight with private astronauts, is planned for August and we expect VSS Unity to continue with monthly space missions while we simultaneously work to scale our future spaceship fleet for a global audience.”
VP of government affairs and research operations at Virgin Galactic, Sirisha Bandla, said, “We are honoured that our first commercial spaceflight enabled the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy to successfully carry out their first suborbital research experiments. This successful mission gives us just a preview of what discoveries may result from reliable access to space to further scientific knowledge.”
In preparation for the company’s next mission, Galactic 02, Virgin Galactic will begin post-flight inspections and analysis. Galactic 02 is scheduled for August, and monthly flights are planned thereafter.
Onboard Galactic 01 were Col. Walter Villadei (Astronaut 008), Italian Air Force, Lt. Col Angelo Landolfi (Astronaut 009), Physician, Italian Air Force, Pantaleone Carlucci (Astronaut 010), Engineer, National Research Council of Italy, and Colin Bennett (Astronaut 003), Astronaut Instructor, Virgin Galactic.