Virgin Galactic has gotten one step closer to making commercial space tourism a possibility.
On Saturday, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity ship successfully reached space for the first time with a full crew, including the company’s founder Sir Richard Branson, onboard.
The flight was the 22nd test flight for the VSS Unity and the first one with a full crew in its cabin. Aside from actually reaching space, the ship performed a number of test objectives, including “evaluating the commercial customer cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research, and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training program at Spaceport America.
The crew at zero-gravity. Photo: Virgin Galactic.
The flight is a major milestone in space tourism, something that many in the travel industry believe will be a real possibility for consumers in the future.
“Today is a landmark achievement for the company and a historic moment for the new commercial space industry,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said. “With each successful mission, we are paving the way for the generation of astronauts.”
Branson, reacting to the flight, said that it was a moment he had dreamt about since he was a child.
“We are at the vanguard of a new space age,” he said, adding that the company’s mission is to “make space more accessible to all.”
“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.”
Virgin shared the full video of the test flight on its YouTube channel live: