- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
Virgin Galactic Announces Flight Date for Galactic 05
Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) today announced the ‘Galactic 05’ flight window will open November 2, 2023. This would be the Company’s sixth spaceflight this year and tenth to date. The ‘Galactic 05’ mission would once again see Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship converted into a suborbital space lab for space-based research. This research mission reaffirms Virgin Galactic’s commitment to providing unprecedented access to space by reducing the historical barriers of time and cost associated with innovative microgravity and space-based research.
“The pursuit of scientific discovery has driven Virgin Galactic from the beginning, and we’re thrilled to offer a wide breadth of high-quality and reliable access to space-based research,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic. “With six flights in six months, our teams have delivered on our turn time objectives for our initial spaceship, VSS Unity. ‘Galactic 05’ will be our second commercial human-tended research mission, and insights from this flight will be used to enhance and refine the research capabilities of our future Delta fleet.”
The dynamic crew of the ‘Galactic 05’ mission will include:
- Astronaut 020 – Dr. Alan Stern, U.S. Planetary Scientist and Associate Vice President in Southwest Research Institute’s (SwRI) Space Sector
- Astronaut 021 – Kellie Gerardi, U.S. Payload Specialist and Bioastronautics Researcher for the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS)
- Astronaut 022 – Private Astronaut – Franco-Italian nationality
‘Galactic 05’ is set to become Galactic’s sixth space research mission and its second this year. Alan and Kellie are experienced researchers who plan to conduct human-tended research during the suborbital spaceflight. As a former NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Alan is a long-time advocate for commercial suborbital research platforms. Sponsored by SwRI, Alan’s mission is planned to be a training flight for a future suborbital spaceflight as part of the NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. During ‘Galactic 05’, Alan will fly a biomedical harness to collect physiological data related to human spaceflight and conduct practice activities for an astronomical experiment on the NASA flight.
Kellie, sponsored by IIAS, plans to fly three payloads, two of which will evaluate novel healthcare technologies in microgravity conditions through the collection of biometric data with the Astroskin biomonitoring device, and examine how confined fluid behaves to inform future healthcare technologies in space. Her research has been developed through extensive reduced gravity flight campaigns with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and would now be advanced through a suborbital flight.
Learn more about the ‘Galactic 05’ research experiments HERE.
“After years of sending machines to conduct research on my behalf, I’m thrilled to be making this maiden spaceflight,” said Dr. Alan Stern, on behalf of SwRI. “What sets this flight apart from others, and which likely represents a new kind of space activity, is that more than anything else I will be training—in space–for future space experiments I will be performing with NASA funding. Virgin’s suborbital costs are low enough to open up space training actually in space as a viable opportunity, and that is a game changer.”
“This mission represents the beginning of a new era of access to space for the research community, and the culmination of a personal lifelong dream. I’m grateful for the support and confidence that IIAS continues to place in me, and I’m looking forward to paving the way for our many talented researchers who will follow, using space as a laboratory to benefit humanity,” said Kellie Gerardi, on behalf of IIAS.
The Virgin Galactic crew includes VSS Unity Commander Mike Masucci and Pilot Kelly Latimer, VMS Eve Commander Jameel Janjua and Pilot Andy Edgell, and Astronaut Instructor Colin Bennett. Colin’s work on ‘Galactic 05’ will complete the in-flight Astronaut Instructor training assessments, and the fourth cabin seat on VSS Unity will be used for additional revenue generation on future flights.
The ‘Galactic 06’ mission is expected to take place in January 2024 to allow time for routine, planned annual vehicle inspections before re-commencing with standard pre-flight readiness procedures. The ‘Galactic 06’ mission will be planned to carry four private astronauts to space.
Stay tuned to Virgin Galactic’s social channels for further updates.
About Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is an aerospace and space travel company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers with its advanced air and space vehicles. It has developed a spaceflight system designed to connect the world to the love, wonder and awe created by space travel and to offer customers a transformative experience. You can find more information at https://www.virgingalactic.com/.