First commercial Virgin Galactic flight gets launch date

Virgin Galactic has set a target date of 29 June 2023 as the launch date for its first commercial spaceflight — Galactic 01.

The first flight will carry three Italian Air Force and National Research Council members, who will conduct microgravity research during the trip.

“‘Galactic 01’ is our first commercial spaceflight, and we’re honoured to have been selected by the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council to support their first space research mission, ‘Virtute 1’,” said Virgin Galactic CEO, Michael Colglazier.

“Virgin Galactic’s research missions will usher in a new era of repeatable and reliable access to space for government and research institutions for years to come.”

The company has already scheduled follow-up flights, with Galactic 02 expected to launch in August with a private crew onboard, The Verge reported.

It will fly every month after that. However, details of future missions aren’t available yet.

Virgin Galactic completed its final pre-commercial flight test for VSS Unity in late May, following numerous delays.

The Unity 25 crew, comprising six members, took off in the VMS Eve “mothership” to conduct the final flight tests.

Virgin Galactic has delayed the rollout of its paid service for some time now, with its most recent hold-up being “fatigue and stress” issues in its four-engine mothership, VMS Eve.

It launched its first fully crewed spaceflight in July 2021, with founder Richard Branson on board.

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First commercial Virgin Galactic flight gets launch date