Virgin Galactic plans next test spaceflight for Oct. 22 as it nears flying founder Richard Branson


Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft Unity reaches space for the first time.

Source: Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic plans to conducts its next crewed spaceflight test on Oct. 22, according to documents the company filed with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday.

The flight will be the first of two that the space tourism company has planned to complete testing of its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft system and should have just two test pilots on board. Virgin Galactic said last month that the second test spaceflight will then have four “mission specialists” inside the cabin. If both test flights succeed, Virgin Galactic expects to fly founder Sir Richard Branson in the first quarter of 2021 – a milestone that will mark the beginning of the company’s commercial tourism service.

Shares of Virgin Galactic closed down 3.7% on Friday at $15.92 a share.

Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft Unity and carrier aircraft Eve in the hangar at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic

A Virgin Galactic spokesperson confirmed the filing’s accuracy but noted that the Oct. 22 date marks the beginning of a flight window, so the launch may happen in the days following. Before the Oct. 22 spaceflight, Virgin Galactic said in the filing that it plans to conduct four-hour test flights of the spacecraft’s carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo, with those flights scheduled for Oct. 1 and Oct. 7. 

Virgin Galactic’s next spaceflight will be its first from the company’s operating base at Spaceport America in New Mexico. It will also be Virgin Galactic’s first spaceflight since February 2019, when the company launched chief astronauts trainer Beth Moses as the spacecraft’s first test passenger.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Wage inflation has arrived in a big way and Jamie Dimon says CEOs ‘shouldn’t be crybabies about it’
Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: BlackRock, Wells Fargo, Sherwin-Williams
Here’s how to prepare if you want to buy a home in this competitive market
Billionaire Daniel Och flips 220 CPS sky palace for $190M
Activist hedge funds launched 89 campaigns in 2021. Here’s how they fared

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *