In space, no one can hear you cry. That’s probably why Virgin Galactic is heading there so soon after the untimely demise of its sister company, Virgin Orbit – currently being salvaged for parts. After a hiatus of nearly two years, the space tourism company is ready to fly again and plans to do so tomorrow morning.
Virgin Galactic’s first flight was in 2021, with crew from the company and founder Richard Branson. While successful in most cases, the FAA acceded to a flight plan deviation and briefly grounded the company.
Since then, the company has worked to update its flight hardware and infrastructure to support its ambitious plan to eventually offer daily suborbital flights to the edge of space. As Mike Moses, now president of space missions and safety, told me shortly after the 2021 launch, it’s part building and customizing the spacecraft themselves, but also streamlining their processes for inspections and so forth.
The scheme they hoped for was definitely not what actually happened, and the company has since poured money into the endeavor with no revenue generated. term is quite significant. Their investors don’t seem too scared, at least outwardly.
Tomorrow’s launch will feature Virgin Galactic employees Jamila Gilbert, Christopher Huie, Luke Mays and Beth Moses, plus the two pilots, Mike Masucci and CJ Sturckow.
As before, the “mothership” VMS Eve will traditionally lift off and carry the VSS Unity spacecraft to 50,000 feet, where the latter will detach and blast to the edge of space before gliding to a landing back at New Mexico’s Spaceport .
The start is scheduled for 8 a.m. Mountain Time, 7 a.m. Pacific. They’re not making live video of the launch, but Virgin Galactic said they’ll provide regular updates and we’ll add any relevant new information to this post.