Virgin Galactic has completed its first private astronaut flight, ‘Galactic 02.’
The mission achieved multiple milestones, including the first female astronauts from the Caribbean, the first mother-daughter duo to go to space, and the most women flown in a single space mission.
Jon Goodwin from the United Kingdom and Keisha Schahaff and Anastatia Mayers from Antigua and Barbuda, were on board Galactic 02.
Among its achievements, Galactic 02 saw the youngest person to go to space, the first Olympian to go to space, the first majority female spaceflight, the sixth and seventh black women to go to space, the second person with Parkinson’s to go to space, and the third oldest person to go to space.
Take-off time was 08:30 am MDT and the altitude at release was 44,300 ft. The apogee was 55 miles and the craft reached a top speed of mach 3.
Virgin Galactic takes ‘another historic leap forward’
Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said: “Today Virgin Galactic took another historic leap forward by flying our first private astronaut mission and demonstrating how our spaceflights will broaden access to space. Jon, Keisha and Ana each embody our fundamental belief that space is for everyone, and we are proud that today’s flight has inspired people and communities around the world.
“This is just the beginning, as we plan to continue flying monthly spaceflights while also developing our Delta Class production spaceships to scale our business.”
CJ Sturckow, VSS Unity Commander, said: “It is a surreal and humbling experience to have flown Unity today. The wonder and excitement of spaceflight never loses its magic. I had the honor of being joined in the cockpit by Kelly Latimer, one of the first female commercial spaceship pilots. I’m proud of the work we’re doing here at Virgin Galactic to fly more people to space.”
Kelly Latime, VSS Unity Pilot, said: “In my entire career, from the Air Force Academy to being a test pilot for NASA, nothing tops what I have just experienced at the controls of VSS Unity. Going to space today fulfilled an ambition I’ve had since I was a child. It is a privilege to be part of a majority-women crew making history as the most female astronauts flying to space in a single mission.”
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