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)…
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to make first rocket flight since 2022 explosion
New Shepard lifts off from Launch Site One in West Texas for the NS-16 mission on July 20, 2021.

New Shepard launches the first crew, including Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, in a flight to the edge of space in July 2021. Blue Origin / Blue Origin

Blue Origin is aiming to launch its New Shepard rocket as early as next week in what will be its first flight since September 2022, when the vehicle exploded in midair shortly after lift-off.

Read more
Virgin Galactic to lose funding from its billionaire founder
VSS Unity during a test flight to the edge of space.

Richard Branson on a Virgin Galactic test flight in 2021. Virgin Galactic

Richard Branson has said he will no longer put any money into Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company that he founded in 2004.

Read more
Watch Virgin Galactic blast its first tourists to the edge of space
Virgin Galactic's space plane heading to the edge of space.

LIVE: Watch the #Galactic02 Spaceflight

Virgin Galactic has successfully completed its first tourism ride to the edge of space.

Read more