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HomeWorldVirgin Galactic Completes First Human Spaceflight From Spaceport America, New Mexico

Virgin Galactic Completes First Human Spaceflight From Spaceport America, New Mexico


Welcomes Astronauts and Payloads Home After Third
Spaceflight

LAS CRUCES, N.M. May 22, 2021 – Virgin
Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“The Company or
Virgin Galactic”) today completed its third spaceflight
and the first ever spaceflight from Spaceport America, New
Mexico. Today’s flight sees New Mexico become the third US
state to launch humans into space.

VSS Unity achieved
a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mothership,
VMS Eve, and reached space, at an altitude of 55.45 miles
before gliding smoothly to a runway landing at Spaceport
America.

On VSS Unity’s flight deck were CJ Sturckow
and Dave Mackay, while Kelly Latimer and Michael Masucci
piloted VMS Eve. CJ, who flew as pilot-in-command, becomes
the first person ever to have flown to space from three
different states. The crew experienced extraordinary views
of the bright, blue-rimmed curvature of the earth against
the blackness of space. New Mexico’s White Sands National
Park sparkled brilliantly below. Their experience today
gives Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronaut customers a
glimpse of what lies ahead.

Michael Colglazier, Chief
Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, said: “Today’s
flight showcased the inherent elegance and safety of our
spaceflight system, while marking a major step forward for
both Virgin Galactic and human spaceflight in New Mexico.
Space travel is a bold and adventurous endeavor, and I am
incredibly proud of our talented team for making the dream
of private space travel a reality. We will immediately begin
processing the data gained from this successful test flight,
and we look forward to sharing news on our next planned
milestone.”

Virgin Galactic fulfilled a number of
test objectives during the flight,
including:

  • Carried revenue-generating scientific
    research experiments as part of NASA’s Flight
    Opportunities Program.
  • Collected data to be used for
    the final two verification reports that are required as part
    of the current FAA commercial reusable spacecraft
    operator’s license.
  • Tested the spaceship’s
    upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls and
    validated EMI reductions.

Following the flight,
and in line with normal procedures, Virgin Galactic will
conduct a review of all test data gathered and thoroughly
inspect the spaceship and mothership. Once the team confirms
the results, the Company plans to proceed to the next flight
test milestone.

To celebrate the first human
spaceflight from New Mexico, the Zia Sun Symbol of New
Mexico’s state flag was placed prominently on the exterior
of the Spaceship. In addition, we flew green chile seeds,
which are synonymous with the state’s rich agricultural
and culinary history.

“Fifteen years ago, New Mexico
embarked on a journey to create the world’s first
commercial spaceport,’’ said Sir Richard Branson.
‘’Today, we launched the first human spaceflight from
that very same place, marking an important milestone for
both Virgin Galactic and New Mexico. I am proud of the team
for their hard work and grateful to the people of New Mexico
who have been unwavering in their commitment for commercial
spaceflight from day one. Their belief and support have made
today’s historic achievement possible.”

Governor
Lujan Grisham said: “After so many years and so much hard
work, New Mexico has finally reached the stars. Our state’s
scientific legacy has been honored by this important
achievement, one that took guts and faith and an unwavering
belief in what New Mexico can achieve — and indeed is
destined to achieve. I can’t wait to see what comes next. We
are on the cutting edge, the forefront of innovation, and I
plan to do everything in my power to keep us there, taking
full advantage of our robust economic and scientific
potential. On behalf of proud New Mexicans everywhere, I’m
incredibly grateful to so many dedicated and visionary
collaborators in this effort, not least Sir Richard Branson
and former Governor Bill Richardson, the entire Virgin
Galactic team and Spaceport team who made possible this
long-awaited day.”

“The Spaceport has always been
about the future of New Mexico,” said former Governor Bill
Richardson. “Our state and our people have a long track
record of inspiring innovation and being catalysts for
national advances in science and technology. So many of New
Mexico’s children will benefit from both the educational
opportunities and the career opportunities that the space
industry offers. I want to congratulate the team at Virgin
Galactic for this historic achievement today. This dream
began with a handshake between Sir Richard Branson and me,
and I’ll always be grateful to him for recognizing that
New Mexico can and should be the base for the space
industry. I want to recognize Rick Homans, who was critical
in the creation of the Spaceport. And thank you to Governor
Michelle Lujan Grisham for your dedication to the future of
New Mexico and to the Spaceport.”

“The Zia Sun
Symbol is one of our most sacred symbols, central to the
Pueblo of Zia,” said Governor Frederick Medina. “We are
pleased that Virgin Galactic reached out to our Pueblo for
permission to utilize this iconic symbol of the state of New
Mexico. It is an honor to work with Virgin Galactic and to
know that a part of Zia Pueblo will be traveling to
space.”

This spaceflight was conducted under strict
COVID-19
protocols.

© Scoop Media

 



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