Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity completes final space flight

One researcher, three private astronauts on vehicle's 32 flight (12th into space)

Virgin Galactic completed its 12th mission to date last weekend, carrying one researcher and three private astronauts. ‘Galactic 07’ flight marks the company’s seventh research mission with Virgin Galactic’s spaceship again serving as a suborbital lab for space-based scientific research. It was also the final commercial flight for VSS Unity.

Onboard Saturday morning’s 1-hour and 10-minute flight were private astronauts from California, New York and Italy. Watched on by Richard Branson from Spaceport America in New Mexico, VSS Unity final flight reached an altitude of 44, 562 feet (approximately 13.5kms) with apogee at 54.4 miles (approx 87.5km).

‘“Watching our pioneering spaceship Unity return from space on its final commercial flight was a breathtaking and proud moment as we celebrate the ship’s unprecedented achievements in human spaceflight and build momentum for the rollout of our first Delta Class ships in 2026,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic.

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The research element of the flight saw Turkish Space Agency (TUA) run three human-tended experiments, including custom headgear with brain activity monitoring sensors to collect physiological data related to human spaceflight; a dosimeter; and two commercially available insulin pens to examine the ability to administer accurate insulin doses in microgravity. The new Astronaut also participated in four investigations that studied physiological changes during suborbital spaceflight.

“I am beyond grateful to have represented my country on ‘Galactic 07’ and conduct groundbreaking research that will impact future space missions,” Tuva Cihangir Atasever said. “The successful completion of Ax-3 and now ‘Galactic 07’ is just the beginning of Türkiye’s space endeavours.”

‘Galactic 07’ also flew two autonomous rack-mounted payloads supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program.

'Galactic 07' in space

The flight was Virgin Galactic’s seventh spaceflight carrying microgravity and space-based research, following last year’s research missions, ‘Galactic 05’ with U.S. Planetary Scientist Dr. Alan Stern and U.S. Payload Specialist and Bioastronautics Researcher Kellie Gerardi, and ‘Galactic 01’ with the Italian Air Force and National Research Council.

Building on VSS Unity’s record in commercial human spaceflight (32 total flights, including 12 to space), the company is now producing its fourth-generation and most advanced spaceships, the Delta Class, expected to enter commercial service in 2026.

Virgin Galactic’s Delta Class spacecraft will be able to carry up to six paying passengers (compared to four aboard VSS Unity), and will be capable of making up to eight spaceflights per month.

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