Space Commerce

Virgin Galactic Announces ‘Galactic 01’ Crew Onboard the First Commercial Spaceflight

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Virgin Galactic
June 26, 2023
Filed under ,
Virgin Galactic Announces ‘Galactic 01’ Crew Onboard the First Commercial Spaceflight
Virgin Galactic

The ‘Galactic 01’ Target Flight Date is June 29, 2023. This historic mission is Virgin Galactic’s first commercial spaceflight and represents a new era in government funded commercial human-tended research missions.

The three-person crew from the Italian Air Force and National Research Council of Italy will board VSS Unity for a 90-minute flight to conduct a series of suborbital science experiments. VSS Unity’s cabin will be transformed into a suborbital science lab to provide the environment for rack mounted payloads and for the crew to interact with wearable payloads.

Mission Objectives

  • Conduct 13 human-tended and autonomous experiments which examine biomedicine thermo-fluid dynamics, and the development of innovative and sustainable materials in microgravity conditions.
  • Collect data through wearable payloads and sensors, and by autonomous payloads mounted in the cabin on Virgin Galactic’s payload rack system.
  • Full details on payloads can be found HERE.

Galactic 01 Crew:

  • Col. Walter Villadei, Italian Air Force: Mission Commander
    Col. Villadei is the ‘Virtute 1’ mission commander. He will be tending to the rack-mounted payloads and wearing a state-of-the-art smart suit to measure his biometric data and physiological responses. He is in charge of the research execution and this spaceflight is part of his astronaut training for a future orbital space mission to the ISS.
  • Lt. Col. Angelo Landolfi, Physician, Italian Air Force Lt. Col. Landolfi plans to conduct tests on ‘Galactic 01’ to measure cognitive performance in microgravity and to investigate how certain liquids and solids mix in microgravity.
  • Pantaleone Carlucci, Engineer, National Research Council of Italy (CNR)
    Carlucci will be conducting tests that involve wearing multiple sensors that examine heart rate, brain function and other human performance metrics during spaceflight and in microgravity.
  • Colin Bennett, Virgin Galactic: Astronaut Instructor
    Colin is the lead astronaut instructor carrying out all training and preparation for the Italian Air Force mission and will fly with the crew to assess the research flight experience during the mission

Virgin Galactic will share a global livestream of flight at The livestream is expected to begin at 9:00am MT/11:00am ET on the day of flight.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.