WATCH LIVE: Virgin Galactic Founder, Billionaire Richard Branson Set for Virgin Galactic Unity 22 Spaceflight
By Space Coast Daily // July 11, 2021
Flight set for 10:30 a.m. ET
ABOVE VIDEO: Virgin Galactic’s first full crew is set for their Unity 22 Spaceflight Sunday, July 11, at 10:30 a.m. ET, which will include Virgin Galactic Founder and billionaire Richard Branson among the mission specialists.
NEW MEXICO – Virgin Galactic’s first full crew is set for their Unity 22 Spaceflight Sunday, July 11, at 10:30 a.m. ET which will include Virgin Galactic Founder and billionaire Richard Branson among the mission specialists.
The “Unity 22” mission will be the twenty-second flight test for VSS Unity and the Company’s fourth crewed spaceflight.
It will also be the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, who will be testing the private astronaut experience.
Virgin Galactic will use a unique air-launching system in which ‘Eve’ will be carried to around 50,000 feet by a four-engine, dual-fuselage jet aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo, then released in midair.
Rather than reaching orbit and circling the Earth, the vehicle will fly to the edge of space around an altitude of more than 50 miles, where passengers will experience roughly four minutes of weightlessness before returning to the ground.
The flight’s four mission specialists will be:
■ Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor at Virgin Galactic. Moses will serve as cabin lead and test director in space, overseeing the safe and efficient execution of the test flight objectives.
■ Colin Bennett, Lead Operations Engineer at Virgin Galactic. Bennett will evaluate cabin equipment, procedures, and experience during both the boost phase and in the weightless environment.
■ Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic. Bandla will be evaluating the human-tended research experience, using an experiment from the University of Florida that requires several handheld fixation tubes that will be activated at various points in the flight profile.
■ Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. Branson will evaluate the private astronaut experience and will undergo the same training, preparation and flight as Virgin Galactic’s future astronauts. The Company will use his observations from his flight training and spaceflight experience to enhance the journey for all future astronaut customers.
Virgin Galactic will use a unique air-launching system in which spacecraft ‘Eve’, named after Branson’s late mother, will be carried to around 50,000 feet by a four-engine, dual-fuselage jet aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo, then released in midair.
Eve’s engine will then ignite and climb toward space at three times the force of Earth’s gravity.
Once Eve reaches an altitude of 55 miles, or nearly 300,000 feet, Branson and the crew will be able to observe Earth and the blackness of space through the spaceship’s 17 windows.