ECONOMY

Sir Richard Branson set for first space flight with Virgin Galactic

The company’s owner is due to test the “private astronaut experience” during the next test flight window, beginning on July 11.

Branson said he is “honoured” to be able to help “ensure his business delivers a unique customer experience”.

Virgin Galactic / PA Media

Virgin Galactic were given the go-ahead to fly paying customers to space after its licence was updated by the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this month.

This month’s Unity 22 mission will be the 22nd flight test for rocket plane VSS Unity and the company’s fourth crewed spaceflight.

The main objectives of the next test flight, taking off from Virgin Galactic’s spaceport in New Mexico will be “evaluating… seat comfort, the weightless experience and the views of Earth” in the space cabin.

The company said it also wants to demonstrate the conditions for conducting human-tended research experiments and confirm the training programme at Spaceport America supports the spaceflight experience.

Virgin Galactic / PA Media

Speaking ahead of his upcoming space flight, Sir Richard said: “I truly believe that space belongs to all of us.

“After more than 16 years of research, engineering, and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry, which is set to open space to humankind and change the world for good.

“It’s one thing to have a dream of making space more accessible to all; it’s another for an incredible team to collectively turn that dream into reality.

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