Now that Virgin Galactic has stolen its first commercial spaceflight, it is ready to embark civilians. The company now waits to launch its first private passenger flight, Galactic 02, on August 10. You can watch a live stream on the company’s website.
Virgo is to carry three passengers, although only one is a paying customer. One of the first ticket buyers was Jon Goodwin, an 80-year-old Olympian from the 1972 Munich games. The other two won seats in a raffle for a fundraiser for Space for Humanity – Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Anastasia Mayers are both the first Caribbeans to fly in space as well as the first mother duo- daughter. Virgin head instructor Beth Moses will join the trio.
The inaugural commercial flight, Galactic 01, flew in late June. However, the three passengers were Italian government employees (two from the air force and a member of the research board) conducting microgravity studies. While it’s unclear what the 02 civilian crew will do, they may be tourists this time around.
The company has stepped up operations in recent months after many delays from previous years. While Galactic 02 is just Virgin’s seventh spaceflight, it’s the third in 2023. The company says it’s establishing a “regular cadence” of flights, and you can expect them to become relatively routine if this trip goes as planned.
Improving the frequency is important for the company’s finances. Virgin has operated at a loss for years and lost more than $500 million in 2022. The company won’t recoup those losses anytime soon, even at $450,000 a ticket, but paying customers are key to softening the blow and advocate for space tourism. .
blue origin And SpaceX have already carried civilians into space, and at altitudes above the more than 50 miles that Virgin flies. However, they have not established regular launch times for tourists. SpaceX’s lunar trips won’t happen until the company is done test the spaceshipand Blue Origin is waiting to resume flights following a rocket failure in 2022. In this regard, Virgin may be the closest to hitting its tourism targets – as long as it maintains the pace it set this summer.
Update, July 17, 2023, 8:45 a.m. ET: Virgin has released the crew list for the flight. We have updated the story accordingly.