Another much anticipated spaceflight of Virgin Galactic is on the horizon. The team are preparing for the first suborbital spaceflight for the end of October.
Virgin Galactic has confirmed that it is opening its flight planning window for the first of two crewed tests on October 22, conditions dependent.
The company has already conducted suborbital test flights but this will be the first leaving from Spaceport America.
In a previous flight, a passenger was onboard with the two pilots to test space tourist capacity, as this is what Virgin Galactic hopes to offer. On a future flight, planetary scientist Alan Stern will be a passenger. This will make him the first researcher, who is not an astronaut, to fly to space.
According to The Verge, Stern won this coveted position by submitting a proposal, with NASA offering between $450,000 or $650,000 to fund their research and trip, depending on what they proposed.
“It was it was simultaneously hugely gratifying and hugely humbling,” Stern told The Verge of finding out his proposal had been accepted. “And when I found out that this was the only proposal they accepted, it meant even more, and the responsibility is even more to do a good job.”
While on the flight, Stern will be operating a former space shuttle and NASA F-18 low light level camera to determine how well astronomical observations can be conducted from space. He will also be fitted with instruments that monitor human vital signs.
Picture: Virgin Galactic