Virgin Galactic plans to launch its third commercial spaceflight on Friday (September 8), but you won’t be able to watch the event live.
The company is targeting a Friday morning launch for the Galactic 03 mission, which will send three high-propelled customers from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Liftoff will occur at roughly the same time as previous Virgin Galactic missions, company officials told Space.com via email, around 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT). But Galactic 03 will not be broadcast live; We’ll have to rely on updates provided by Virgin Galactic via social media.
Related: Virgin Galactic launches the first mother-daughter team and the first female Olympian into space on the second commercial flight (video)
In another departure from previous procedures, Virgin Galactic has not yet identified the three customers. Pretty much all we know is that they were long-time ticket holders.
“The three Galactic 03 crew members are Virgin Galactic’s first group of founding astronauts — early customers whose futuristic vision and early ticket purchases helped make the dream of regular commercial spaceflight a reality,” Virgin Galactic wrote in a statement late. Last month.
“The Galactic 03 crew purchased their tickets as early as 2005, and since then, they have been an active part of the company’s vibrant future astronaut community,” they added. (The ticket price at the time was much cheaper than the current price of $450,000.)
The trio will fly on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity spaceplane with Colin Bennett, one of the company’s astronaut trainers. The unit will be led by Nicola Bissell and Michael Masucci.
The module launches from under the wings of VMS Eve, Virgin Galactic’s carrier aircraft. Eve drops the spaceplane to an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 metres), at which point Unity fires its rocket engine to reach suborbital space. Unity and Eve both return to Earth to land on the runway.
Galactic 03 is Virgin Galactic’s third commercial spaceflight, following Galactic 02 on August 10 and Galactic 01 on June 29. When including test flights, VSS Unity has reached the final limits seven times so far.
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