This is Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight. Richard Branson’s suborbital flight company has taken a team of Italian passengers into space to conduct a series of experiments.
Virgin Galactic carried its first customers into space on Thursday, a big step for the company founded by billionaire Richard Branson that would allow it to relaunch the coveted space tourism sector after delaying the ignition compared to its competitors.
Called “historic” by Virgin Galactic, the flight indeed marked a new milestone in the development of the company created by Richard Branson. Dubbed Galactic 01, this event should mark “a new era in human-funded commercial research missions,” Virgin Galactic explains in a press release announcing the flight.
On this flight, the crew of the VSS Unity spacecraft included three people from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy. Their flight was scheduled to last 90 minutes to conduct a series of science experiments.
Among the 13 experiments conducted by the crew, several instruments were tested to measure cosmic radiation from the atmosphere (which lies between 50 and 100 kilometers high). The behavior of complex fluids also had to be studied in an extreme microgravity environment, much like the plasticity of the human brain observed below that altitude.
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