Virgin Galactic Gears Up for Galactic 07 Spaceflight on June 8

Virgin Galactic is set to launch its 7th commercial spaceflight, Galactic 07, on June 8, 2024, from Spaceport America in New Mexico, carrying one research astronaut and three private astronauts, including Turkish astronaut Tuva Atasever, on board the VSS Unity spacecraft. The mission marks a significant milestone in the commercial space industry, demonstrating the potential for frequent and accessible space travel, with implications for scientific discovery and economic growth." This description focuses on the primary topic (Virgin Galactic's 7th commercial spaceflight), main entities (Virgin Galactic, Tuva Atasever, Spaceport America), context (commercial space industry), significant actions (launch of Galactic 07), and objective details (date, location, spacecraft) that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content.

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Nitish Verma
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Virgin Galactic Gears Up for Galactic 07 Spaceflight on June 8

Virgin Galactic Gears Up for Galactic 07 Spaceflight on June 8

Virgin Galactic is set to launch its 7th commercial spaceflight, Galactic 07, on June 8, 2024, from Spaceport America in southwestern New Mexico. The flight window opens on June 8, with the exact timing yet to be revealed.

The Galactic 07 mission will carry one research astronaut and three private astronauts, including Turkish astronaut Tuva Atasever, on board the VSS Unity spacecraft. This will be Virgin Galactic's 12th mission to date and its second spaceflight this year, following the Galactic 06 mission on January 26.

Why this matters: This mission marks a significant milestone in the commercial space industry, demonstrating the potential for frequent and accessible space travel. As Virgin Galactic plans to increase its spaceflights to 125 per year, this could lead to a significant expansion of space research and tourism, with potential benefits for scientific discovery and economic growth.

Atasever, who will become the second Turkish astronaut in his nation's history, will conduct several experiments during the flight, including studying human physiology during spaceflight, administering insulin doses in microgravity, and identifying metabolic changes. "I look forward to continuing Türkiye's human space exploration efforts on the Galactic 07 flight," said Atasever. "With seven different scientific investigations that will be conducted in collaboration with national and international partners, we will make important contributions toward space research in Türkiye."

Axiom Space has partnered with Virgin Galactic to send Atasever on the suborbital flight to conduct microgravity research. The flight will serve as an opportunity to collect more biomedical data for three research studies that were previously conducted on Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3). "Axiom Space's commitment to enabling access to space through exclusive spaceflight and research opportunities is exemplified by our partnership with Virgin Galactic," said Tejpaul Bhatia, chief revenue officer of Axiom Space.

NASA will also fly two payloads on Galactic 07 to investigate how liquid moves in spacecraft propellant tanks and test new 3D printing techniques. The flight will carry autonomous payloads from Purdue University and the University of California, Berkeley, supported by NASA's Flight Opportunities program.

The VMS Eve mothership will be piloted by Commander Andy Edgell and pilot C.J. Sturckow, while the VSS Unity spaceplane will be piloted by Commander Nicola Pecile and pilot Jameel Janjua. Virgin Galactic reportedly charges $450,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 crore) per ticket. Passengers on board VSS Unity will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to land.

This flight marks an important turning point for Virgin Galactic, as it will be the last flight for VSS Unity. The company plans to increase the number of spaceflights to 125 per year beginning in 2026 and expand its flights to other spaceports across the country. Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier stated that the company's next-generation Delta ships will take more frequent trips to suborbit, with the potential to bring more people to space in a single year than the total number of astronauts who have ever journeyed to space to date.

Virgin Galactic reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, with $2 million in revenue compared to $392,000 at the same time last year. The company posted a total net loss of $102.9 million, smaller than the first quarter 2023 net loss of $159.4 million. Revenue for the second quarter of 2024 is expected to be approximately $3.5 million. With $1.08 billion in total assets through March, Virgin Galactic expects annualized revenue of $450 million within the first 12 months following entry into commercial service.

Key Takeaways

  • Virgin Galactic's 7th commercial spaceflight, Galactic 07, to launch on June 8, 2024.
  • Flight to carry 1 research astronaut and 3 private astronauts, including Turkish astronaut Tuva Atasever.
  • Mission to conduct microgravity research, including experiments on human physiology and insulin administration.
  • Virgin Galactic plans to increase spaceflights to 125 per year, with potential benefits for scientific discovery and economic growth.
  • Company expects annualized revenue of $450 million within 12 months of commercial service.