Skip to main content

How to watch Virgin Galactic’s first commercial rocket flight on Thursday

Virgin Galactic: Meet the Galactic 01 Crew

After years of testing its rocket-powered plane, Virgin Galactic is finally ready to launch its first commercial flight on Thursday, June 29.

The company has just shared a video (above) introducing the three passengers who will be taking part in this week’s suborbital flight, which will involve a high-speed trip to the edge of space.

On board VSS Unity will be Colonel Walter Villadei and Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Landolfi, both of the Italian Air Force, and Pantaleone Carlucci of the National Research Council of Italy.

Virgin Galactic instructor Colin Bennett will also be aboard the plane, which will be piloted by Mike Masucci and Nicola Pecile.

While many of the trips aboard VSS Unity will be for so-called “space tourists” to marvel at the incredible views of Earth and to enjoy a few moments of weightlessness inside the cabin, Thursday’s mission is geared toward science, with 13 different experiments set to be carried out in the microgravity conditions.

“VSS Unity’s cabin will be transformed into a suborbital science lab to provide the environment for rack-mounted payloads and for the crew to interact with wearable payloads,” Virgin Galactic said on Monday.

Virgin Galactic hopes that individuals and organizations from the science community will see VSS Unity trips as an ideal vehicle for carrying out science research.

Virgin Galactic’s flights involve two aircraft. First, VMS Eve carries Unity and its passengers to an altitude of about 50,000 feet. Eve then releases Unity, which immediately fires up its rocket engine to roar to a peak altitude of about 282,000 feet (53.4 miles/86 kilometers), about 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) short of the Kármán line, which is widely considered to be the point where space begins.

A video released by Virgin Galactic offers a detailed look at the kind of experience paying passengers can expect.

How to watch

The 90-minute mission is set to take off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) on Thursday, June 29.

Virgin Galactic will share a live stream of the mission on its YouTube channel and also on its website. Be sure to check Virgin Galactic’s Twitter feed for any late adjustments to the schedule.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Virgin Galactic announces first fully crewed flight since 2021
Virgin Galactic's space plane heading to the edge of space.

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic has announced plans for another test flight ahead of its first commercial mission this summer.

The test flight using its rocket-powered space plane will take place in “late May” and will be the company’s second fully crewed trip since Virgin founder Richard Branson and others tested the hardware in a successful flight in July 2021.

Read more
SpaceX Starship rocket launches in first test flight, but explodes in midair
spacex starship launch explosion

SpaceX has launched its integrated Starship for the first time, with the spacecraft and rocket leaving the launchpad on a test flight. However, not everything went smoothly during the test, as the rocket exploded before the separation of the Starship spacecraft from the Super Heavy rocket booster.

The launch from SpaceX's Starbase facility at Boca Chica in Texas saw the Starship leave the launch pad at 9:33 a.m. ET, consisting of the integrated Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy Booster, which form the world's most powerful rocket. The combined Starship will be used for future missions to the moon and beyond, launched from a launch-and-catch tower standing at an impressive height of nearly 500 feet tall.

Read more
How to watch SpaceX launch record-breaking Starship rocket on Thursday
The Starship, comprising the first-stage Super Heavy and the upper-stage Starship spacecraft, on the launchpad at SpaceX's facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Starship Flight Test

Update: SpaceX called off Monday's launch attempt due to a technical issue. It's now targeting Thursday, April 20. Full details below. 

Read more