Virgin Galactic has revealed plans to conduct its fourth commercial spaceflight , named Galactic 04, on October 5th. This mission marks the ninth spaceflight overall for Virgin Galactic. Three space tourists will be aboard, each hailing from the U.S., the U.K., and Pakistan. Notably, this mission will be a historic one, as no individual from Pakistan has journeyed to space before, according to Virgin Galactic.
Although Virgin Galactic has not yet disclosed the identities of the Galactic 04 trio, one of the crewmembers, British advertising executive Trevor Beattie, publicly shared his participation. In an announcement on social media, Beattie expressed his excitement, having waited for this opportunity for over 15 years.
The launch of Galactic 04 will take place at Spaceport America in New Mexico. It will transport the passengers on a suborbital journey using Virgin’s VSS Unity space plane, which will be carried aloft by the VMS Eve carrier craft. Eve will release Unity at an altitude of approximately 50,000 feet (15,000 meters), after which the space plane will engage its rocket motor to reach suborbital space.
Galactic 04 Trio
Virgin Galactic considers the Galactic 04 trio as its 17th, 18th, and 19th astronauts. Joining them in Unity’s cabin will be Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, while Kelly Latimer and C.J. Sturckow will pilot VSS Unity. Nicola Pecile and Jameel Janjua will operate Eve’s controls.
Passengers aboard VSS Unity can experience several minutes of weightlessness and witness Earth against the backdrop of space. The cost of a ticket for this space plane journey currently stands at $450,000.
Virgin Galactic is fulfilling its commitment to launch commercial missions approximately once per month using Unity. Before that, they launched previous missions, specifically, Galactic 01 on June 29, Galactic 02 on August 10, and Galactic 03 on September 8. The company also conducted two test flights with Unity earlier this year, one in April and another in May.
Virgin Galactic plans to significantly increase the pace of its operations around 2026 when the company introduces its “Delta” line of space planes. Company representatives have stated that these vehicles are designed for conducting weekly flights.
Virgin Galactic’s primary competitor in the suborbital space tourism sector is Blue Origin, led by Jeff Bezos. On the other hand, Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle has remained grounded for more than a year since it experienced a failure during an uncrewed flight on September 12, 2022.