Virgin Galactic takes four paying pax into space at one time

Richard Branson's space venture fills all its revenue seats on 'Galactic 6'

Virgin Galactic completed its first spaceflight of 2024 and 11th mission to date, successfully last Friday [26 January 2024]. The latest mission comes as Richard Branson’s space venture confirmed its Delta-class space vehicle won’t begin test flights until early 2025 and their commercial services won’t begin until a year later.

‘Galactic 06’ flight marked the first time Virgin Galactic had all four seats aboard its spacecraft, VSS Unity, occupied by private paying astronauts.

The identities of the passengers were held back until post-spaceflight, and they Astronauts included:

  • Astronaut 023 – Lina Borozdina, Ukraine and Nevada, US
  • Astronaut 024 – Robie Vaughn, Texas, US
  • Astronaut 025 – Franz Haider, Austria
  • Astronaut 026 – Neil Kornswiet, California, US

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A scientist, chemist and breast cancer survivor, Borozdiza said post-flight that she was thrilled to see our “fragile blue planet in the infinite vacuum of space. You can’t see wars or suffering from above.”

For Vaughn, flying aboard VSS Unity was the culmination of a lifelong dream. He who grew up watching Apollo missions, often witnessed from the ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida, with his parents. Since then, he has carried on the tradition by travelling to launches with his wife and children.

World traveller, Franz, described his ‘Galactic 06’ experience as “his grandest adventure yet.”

Speaking after the flight, Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said: “Today the incredible team at Virgin Galactic supported another successful mission and delivered an unforgettable experience for four new astronauts.

“The success of ‘Galactic 06’ and the Company’s other commercial spaceflights in recent months only increases our confidence in the repeatability of our product and our ability to deliver a superlative experience to our customers,” Colglazier said.

“With the production of our next-generation Delta-class ships underway, we look forward to expanding our flight capacity with testing expected to start next year and commercial service in 2026.”

Virgin Galactic’s next mission is expected in Q2 2024 and will include a researcher and private astronauts. More information on that mission will be revealed soon.

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