Virgin Galactic to pilot Italian Air Force on space search mission
September 2 (Reuters) – Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (SPCE.N) launches its first commercial research mission named “Unity 23” with the Italian Air Force at the edge of space, it announced Thursday .
The space travel company has set a date for the mission in late September or early October that will carry three paid crew members from the Air Force and the Rome-based government agency, the National Research Council.
The crew will study the effect on the human body as it changes from gravity to a low-gravity atmosphere and provide information for future space flight systems and technologies.
The mission follows a successful first crewed test flight into space by Virgin Galactic’s passenger rocket in July.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a deviation in the descent of the flight that took billionaire Richard Branson into space.
The company said in July that it was planning at least two more test flights of the spaceplane before starting regular commercial operation in 2022.
One of those flights will carry four Italian astronauts in training, according to managing director Michael Colglazier. Read more
Report by Tiyashi Datta in Bangalore; Editing by Arun Koyyur
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