Virgin Galactic to make history with its Galactic-02 commercial spaceflight

9th Aug 2023
Virgin Galactic to make history with its Galactic-02 commercial spaceflight

This week, 18-year-old Anastatia Mayers and her mother, Keisha Shahaff, embark on a journey in the history of space flights, becoming crew members on Virgin Galactic’s Galactic-02 flight. They were lucky to win the seats on the second commercial flight of Virgin Galactic after entering a competition by fundraising company Omaze.

Here are the details of the Virgin Galactic commercial mission and how you can watch it live.

When is the Galactic-02 flight?

Virgin Galactic is planning to launch its second commercial spaceflight on August 10th. During this mission, a special plane called VSS Unity will take three private astronauts on a short trip to space. Even though VSS Unity doesn’t go all the way around Earth, it will still give the passengers a few minutes of floating in space, where they can see the Earth’s curve and the darkness of outer space. The coverage of this mission will start at 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), according to the company’s website.

Even though we don’t know the exact time the spacecraft will launch, it’s expected to happen not long after Virgin Galactic starts showing the event live.

How high does VSS Unity go?

The liftoff will take place from Spaceport America in New Mexico. A special plane called VMS Eve will carry another plane, VSS Unity, high up to around 50,000 feet (15,000 meters). Then, VMS Eve will let go of VSS Unity, and Unity will turn on its rocket engine to go even higher into space, but not all the way around Earth.

How much time will the Galactic-02 crew spend in space?

flight plan for Virgin Galactic's Galactic-02
The image shows the general flight plan for Virgin Galactic’s Galactic-02 flight. Image credit: Future

We’re not sure exactly how long the whole mission will take. In the previous commercial flight, Galactic-01, which happened last month, it took about 1.5 hours from when VMS Eve took off until VSS Unity safely landed back on the ground at Spaceport America.

How can we watch Virgin Galactic flight?

Virgin Galactic plans to show the whole Galactic-02 mission live.

Starting at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (1500 GMT) on August 10th, you can watch a live video on Virgin Galactic’s website. However, there are no specific details on how much of the mission the video will show.

Who are the Galactic-02 passengers?

Galactic-02 crew
From left to right: Jon Goodwin, Keisha Schahaff and Anastatia Mayers. Credit: Virgin Galactic

This is the most interesting part. For the first time, the mother-daughter duo, 18-year-old Anastatia Mayers and her mother, Keisha Shahaff, will fly to space on Galactic-02. Additionally, Anastatia will also become the second youngest person to fly into space. Keisha won their seats during a Virgin Atlantic flight to the United Kingdom, where she had to arrange a visa for her daughter.

The mission will also carry a former British Olympian, Jon Goodwin, to the final frontier for the first time. Goodwin bought his ticket more than 18 years ago for $250,000, while today’s ticket price for a Virgin Galactic commercial flight is up to $450,000.

In total, six people will travel to space on VSS Unity: Commander C.J. Sturckow and pilot Kelly Latimer of the space plane, along with three private passengers and the Virgin Galactic astronaut instructor who prepared the group for their journey.

Fun facts about the Galactic-02 flight

Jon Goodwin shared intimate details about the spaceship’s toilets situation. Goodwin, who had been getting ready for the journey, informed journalists that he and fellow passengers would have ‘limited’ bathroom options on the 90-minute flight.

He stated, “One thing the rocket ship doesn’t have is a toilet, so we will be wearing nappies, which takes me back a bit.”

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