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    HomeWorldVirgin Galactic Heading Back to Space This Month with 6 on Board

    Virgin Galactic Heading Back to Space This Month with 6 on Board

    Virgin Galactic Heading Back to Space This Month with 6 on Board

    Virgin Galactic is headed back to space this month with a six-person crew, marking its first flight to suborbit since company founder Sir Richard Branson flew from Spaceport America in southern in July 2021.

    It's the last flight planned by Virgin Galactic before launching its long-awaited commercial service, starting in late June, when a crew from the Italian will fly to space on the six-passenger VSS Unity spaceship to conduct research and training.

    This month's final test flight will include four Virgin Galactic team members seated in the passenger cabin, among them Native New Mexican Jamila Gilbert, a 34-year-old New Mexico State University graduate who grew up in Alamogordo and Las Cruces and joined Virgin Galactic in 2019, said Mike Moses, president of spaceline missions and safety.

    “Returning to space is what we have all worked toward,” Moses said in a press release Monday morning announcing the flight. “Our mission specialists were selected for their diverse expertise, and they couldn't be better suited to validate the astronaut training program and overall experience. After this flight we will begin flying our customers to space.”

    The upcoming test will be the first “powered” flight into suborbit since Branson flew in 2021. Following Branson's flight, the company entered an 18-month hiatus for maintenance upgrades and enhancements to the Unity spaceship and the VMS Eve mothership to improve…

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