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New astronauts have successful flight


Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. today successfully completed its Unity 25 mission to space. Mission specialists Jamila Gilbert, Christopher Huie and Luke Mays became the newest Virgin Galactic Astronauts as they evaluated the end-to-end astronaut training and spaceflight experience.

The company will now prepare for commercial spaceline operations beginning with the ‘Galactic 01’ mission planned for late June. 

“The ‘Unity 25’ mission was a fantastic achievement for everyone at Virgin Galactic,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO. “Witnessing our inspiring crew’s pure joy upon landing, I have complete confidence in the unique astronaut experience we have built for our customers. Our teams now begin post-flight analysis as well as preparation for ‘Galactic 01’, our commercial research mission, planned for late June.”

“New Mexico, you are even more enchanting from space,” said Jamila Gilbert, Mission Specialist, Virgin Galactic. “I flew to space just one hour from the street I grew up on. It is hard to put into words what this experience was like, but I’m sure I’ll spend the rest of my life trying. I’m not only honored to be one of the first 100 women and one of 16 Hispanic and Latinx people to go to space, I’m also incredibly proud to represent the community from where this new space age is blossoming. As one of the very few nontechnical people to fly to space, my role in this mission marks a sea change in who can go to space, and is a promising sign of the opportunities Virgin Galactic and the commercial space sector are ushering in.”

“Looking down at our beautiful planet from space, something that so few humans have experienced, was such a humbling, awe-inspiring, and reverent experience,” said Christopher Huie, Mission Specialist, Virgin Galactic. “As one of the first 20 Black people who have gone to space, I hope that I can inspire the next generation of astronauts who look like me to set their goals high and break down the mental and institutional barriers that have held people of color back. This is just the beginning, and I look forward to continuing to push boundaries with Virgin Galactic and shine a spotlight on the doors that commercial space travel can open for innovation.”

Key In-flight Facts: 

  • Take-off Time: 9:15 a.m. MT
  • Altitude at Release: 44,500 feet
  • Apogee: 54.2 miles
  • Top Speed: Mach 2.94
  • Landing Time: 10:37 a.m. MT

Next Steps

Post-flight inspections and analysis in preparation for commercial spaceline operations, beginning with ‘Galactic 01’, a dedicated research mission planned for late June.