Virgin Galactic is launching its first commercial research mission called “Unity 23” together with the Italian Air Force to the edge of space, the agency said on Thursday.
The space travel company has set late September or early October as the time for the mission that will take three paying air crew and the Rome-based government agency National Research Council.
The crew will study the effect on the human body as they move from gravity to a low gravity atmosphere and will provide insights into future spaceflight systems and technologies.
The mission follows a first successful manned test flight into space by Virgin Galactic’s passenger rocket in July.
The US Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a descent descent that took billionaire Richard Branson into space.
The company said in July that it plans at least two more test flights of the space plane before starting regular commercial operation in 2022.
One of those flights will transport four Italian astronauts in training, according to Chief Executive Michael Colglazier.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
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