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Virgin Galactic plans 5th and 6th launches

October 20, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Space tourism business Virgin Galactic says its fifth passenger-paying sub-orbital flight will take place in early November, subject to the usual weather considerations.

Virgin Galactic said that the next flight of its VSS Unity suborbital spaceplane, Galactic 05, is planning for a flight window that opens November 2nd from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Galactic flight 05 is described as a part-science mission and will carry two researchers, Alan Stern and Kellie Gerardi. The craft’s third customer is said to be Franco-Italian private astronaut.

“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,” Stern said in his statement. “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.”

The follow-on Galactic flight 06 will take place in January 2024. However, there will be one significant difference with flight 06 in that it will fly without a “crew instructor” on board. This means that there will be an additional – revenue generating – seat available for sale.

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