Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight delayed due to bad weather
Bad weather at the launch site in New Mexico, USA has caused a delay of 90 minutes to the planned flight.
Branson and his crew had been scheduled to launch at 9am local time – 2pm here in the UK – but this has been pushed back. Take-off is now planned for 3.30pm BST.
Stormy weather last night meant a delayed rollout for the vehicles – the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity and its carrier plane VMS Eve – that will carry Branson into suborbital space.
‘Overnight weather delayed the start of flight preparations, but we are on track to fly today with a newly scheduled time,’ Virgin Galactic confirmed on Twitter.
The space tourism company’s Unity 22 flight is the 22nd test flight of the reusable SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity that will eventually carry paying customers into weightlessness.
This mission will be the fourth spaceflight for the space plane and the first fully crewed flight of the vehicle.
Who is joining Richard Branson on the flight?
Sir Richard has dubbed himself ‘Astronaut 001’ and will be responsible for evaluating ‘the private astronaut experience’.
Branson has undergone the same training, preparation and flight as Virgin Galactic’s future astronauts. He will be joined on the flight by:
- Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor at Virgin Galactic. Moses will serve as cabin lead and test director in space, overseeing the safe and efficient execution of the test flight objectives.
- Colin Bennett, Lead Operations Engineer at Virgin Galactic. Bennett will evaluate cabin equipment, procedures, and experience during both the boost phase and in the weightless environment.
- Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic. Bandla will be evaluating the human-tended research experience, using an experiment from the University of Florida that requires several handheld fixation tubes that will be activated at various points in the flight profile.
- Pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci who will be flying VSS Unity into suborbital space.