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Virgin Galactic successfully operated the first space flight with passengers, with Richard Branson on board!
VSS Unity - Virgin Galactic spacecraft - successfully operated a space flight with Richard Branson on board. This was Virgin Galactic's fourth space flight and the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin, including Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. VSS Unity reached a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mother ship, VMS Eve, and reached space at an altitude of 53.5 miles (approximately 85 km).
An hour and a half after takeoff, the spacecraft safely reached Spaceport America - the only commercial spaceport in the world. The crew reported that they were feeling well and that they had witnessed spectacular views of Earth from space.
This was the fourth space flight operated by Virgin Galactic and the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity. The crew met a number of test objectives related to the cabin and the customer experience, including the evaluation of the commercial cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training program from Spaceport America.
Virgin Galactic successfully operated the first space flight with passengers.
The first flight of this space experience could be watched by audiences around the world. It was a small preview of the trip that Virgin Galactic will offer when it officially launches a commercial service, after the completion of the test flight program.
The cabin crew were Beth Moses, chief astronaut instructor, Colin Bennett, chief flight operations engineer, Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs and research operations, and the company's founder, Sir Richard Branson. VSS Unity pilots were Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, while Kelly Latimer and CJ Sturckow piloted VMS Eve.