Story by Kevin Tunoi
28 Jun 2023
Virgin Galactic Holdings officially announced the launch date for its inaugural commercial spaceflight, named Galactic 01
The highly anticipated flight is scheduled to depart on June 29, and onboard the VSS Unity spacecraft will be a three-person crew
Members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy will be on board the 90-minute journey to conduct suborbital scientific experiments
Virgin Galactic sold around 800 tickets for its space trip in the last decade, with the first tickets costing KSh 28 million each
Virgin Galactic, a subsidiary of billionaire Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, has revealed its plans for the first commercial spaceflight.
The mission will involve three Italian individuals and a Virgin Galactic flight instructor. The company is currently selling tickets for future space tours at a price of KSh 63 million.
According to New York Post, the flight was originally scheduled for 2013 as Virgin Atlantic boss Branson had planned to initiate space tourism by launching tourists into space.
However, the timetable was subsequently revised to 2015. It wasn't until 2021 that the federal government finally granted the necessary approval for the project.
Virgin Galactic announced Italians Col. Walter Villadei and Lt. Col. Angelo Landolfi, and Pantaleone Carlucci will join astronaut Colin Bennett for the mission.
Titanic submersible implosion
However, recent concerns have emerged in light of the tragic incident involving OceanGate's submersible during an expensive expedition to explore the Titanic shipwreck.
These concerns have led to comparisons being drawn between the two events.
An Instagram post by Pubity wrote:
"The firm, founded by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, has confirmed it will perform its first commercial flight, 'Galactic 01', at the end of June."
It further stated:
"It has a three-day window from June 27 to launch a crew of six aboard the VSS Unity spaceplane from Spaceport America in New Mexico."
Related video: Virgin Galactic first spaceflight takes off on Thursday (KOAT Albuquerque)
Netizens reacted to the post, and below are some of their comments:
"The ocean doesn’t want tourists. What makes you think space and them aliens are gonna be any more friendly and inviting?"
"Can’t these people just give me the money? A funeral is less expensive."
"It doesn’t sound like the best marketing time for this after the Titanic submarine."
"Expensive ways to die."
"I need to see the controller first."