Billionaire Richard Branson's suborbital space tourism company Virgin Galactic announced that its first commercial flight is scheduled to be launched into space in late June 2023.
Before this, a four-member test flight will also take place at the end of May. The test mission will carry two pilots and a crew of four Virgin Galactic employees who will ride in the passenger cabin. If it goes well, the company will begin commercial services in June this year.
Before that, Virgin Galactic only conducted test flights. The company successfully completed its first crewed space flight in July 2021. In total, the entire flight lasted about an hour, and the crew was in a state of zero gravity for only 5-6 minutes. After reaching a given altitude, the carrier aircraft independently returned to Earth and landed at the cosmodrome. Branson also was among the launch participants.
After that, Virgin Galactic delayed the start of commercial flights several times, including due to supply issues and plans to improve the spacecraft and launch vehicle.