Virgin Galactic is set to launch its first civilian space flight with passengers, ‘Galactic 02’, on Thursday, with a three-person crew and three guests for a 90-minute flight to suborbital space on VSS Unity.

Those on board will include 80-year-old Jon Goodwin, the second person with Parkinson’s to go into space, in addition to Omaze winners Keisha Schahaff and Anastatia Mayers, the first mother-and-daughter duo to go to space.

Virgin Galactic spaceflight

The launch is Virgin Galactic’s seventh spaceflight and will see a multi-national crew which the company said highlights the role the commercial space industry can play in removing barriers that once existed to becoming an astronaut.

To date, fewer than 700 people have traveled to space, with little diversity among that group. Virgin Galactic’s mission is to change that, beginning with an 800 strong ‘Future Astronaut’ group of people who have reserved spaces on the craft.

Research payloads in space

“Today, our team successfully flew six people and more than a dozen research payloads to space in VSS Unity, our unique, suborbital science lab,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier, at the time of the first launch with only crew onboard, which lifted on in June.

“This historic flight was our first commercial flight and our first dedicated commercial research mission – ushering in a new era of repeatable and reliable access to space for private passengers and researchers.

“Galactic 02, our first spaceflight with private astronauts, is planned for August and we expect VSS Unity to continue with monthly space missions while we simultaneously work to scale our future spaceship fleet for a global audience.”
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