Monday, June 10, 2024

Virgin Galactic #07 Spaceflight Recap: Final VSS Unity Mission

Virgin Galactic #07 Spaceflight Recap: Final VSS Unity Mission

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceplane conducted its final commercial mission June 8, 2024, taking a Turkish researcher and three private astronauts on a suborbital spaceflight. VSS Unity, attached to its VMS Eve mothership aircraft, took off from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico at 10:31 a.m. Eastern. Unity released from Eve at 11:26 a.m. Eastern, flying its typical suborbital trajectory to an altitude of 87.5 kilometers before gliding to a landing back at the spaceport at 11:41 a.m. Eastern.

Galactic 07 featured a Turkish research astronaut, Tuva Atasever. His flight was arranged through Axiom Space, which flew another Turkish astronaut, Alper Gezeravcı, on the Ax-3 private astronaut mission to the International Space Station in January. Atasever was the backup for that mission.

Atasever planned to conduct seven experiments during the suborbital flight. “The experimental side of the flight was a huge success,” he said at a press conference after the flight. Those experiments included sensors to monitor brain activity, radiation dosimeters and insulin pens designed to operate in microgravity. The brain activity experiment, he noted, included tests to try and capture any changes in brain activity linked to the perspective-altering “Overview Effect” caused by seeing the Earth from space.

He said that testing of the insulin pens, an experiment developed by Axiom Space, during tests in the week leading up to the flight revealed they were not working as expected. “We iterated, we changed a couple of things, and this time around worked perfectly in microgravity.”

The vehicle also carried a rack with automated payloads from Purdue University to study propellant slosh in microgravity and from the University of California Berkeley to test 3D printing. Those payloads were flown through NASA’s Flight Opportunities program.

The other three customers were private astronauts, whose identities were disclosed by Virgin Galactic only after the vehicle landed. They were:

Andy Sadhwani, a principal propulsion engineer at SpaceX who previously did research at NASA and Stanford University;

Irving Pergament, a New York real estate developer and private pilot; and

Giorgio Manenti, an Italian investment manager living in London.

Unity was commanded by Nicola Pecile, making his fourth flight, with Jameel Janjua, on his first spaceflight, as pilot.

This was the seventh commercial flight for VSS Unity and the 12th flight overall. It will also be the last for VSS Unity, the second SpaceShipTwo vehicle built for Virgin Galactic, as the company shifts its focus to completing work on the new Delta series of vehicles.

Learn more at:

Video Credit: Virgin Galactic

Caption Credit: SpaceNews/Jeff Foust

Duration: 2 minutes, 21 seconds

Release Date: Jan. 28, 2024

#NASA #Space #Earth #CommercialSpaceflight #VirginGalactic #SpaceShipTwoVehicle #Galactic07 #VSSUnity #SuborbitalFlight #Astronauts #TuvaAtasever #Türkiye #AndySadhwani #IrvingPergament #GiorgioManenti #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceportAmerica #SpaceTourism #NewMexico #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

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