Virgin Galactic is ready for its first spaceflight in nearly two years.
Virgin Galactic will send its next crew to space no earlier than Thursday (May 25) at 10 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. MDT) from Spaceport America in New Mexico. While the events will not be livestreamed, you can likely watch on Virgin Galactic’s Twitter feed.
Eight crew members will participate, all Virgin Galactic employees. It’s the fifth time the company has ventured into space and the first since July 11, 2021, when Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was one of the passengers. (The company has been upgrading and testing its vehicles since then.)
The spaceflight will see two pilots of the carrier plane VMS Eve bring the spaceplane VSS Unity to an altitude of roughly 50,000 feet (15,000 meters). Eve will then release Unity, whose two pilots will use the spacecraft’s rocket motor to fly four crew members beyond 50 miles (80 kilometers), high enough to reach space by some definitions.
Virgin Galactic has said the flight, known as Unity 25, will be the last test ahead of starting commercial service. Follow along with the flight and its crew members in the gallery below.
Related: Meet the 8 people flying on Virgin Galactic’s 5th spaceflight on Thursday