When is the next crewed launch to space?

next crewed launch

Since 2000 humanity has had a constant presence of individuals orbiting the Earth onboard the International Space Station. With the rise of commercial opportunities to reach for the stars, and other nations begin their crew launch programs, when is the next crewed launch?

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SLS mass-sim removed, Lockheed Martin’s new facility, sexism at Blue Origin and more Top stories

It has been a shockingly busy past week in space. From continued work towards Artemis I, to spacecraft reaching new planets, a lot has happened in the world of spaceflight and space exploration.

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FAA bows out of way in time for next Virgin Galactic spaceflight

Virgin Galactic was in some hot water after deviating from the original flight plan and flying outside of the approved airspace during Richard Branson’s spaceflight in July. The FAA has finished its investigation into the mishap by Virgin Galactic.

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SpaceX’s new support ships, Firefly Alpha in-flight anomaly, Virgin Galactic grounded & more Top stories

This week, SpaceX’s new ships arrived in Florida while Firefly had their first launch that ended in failure. Virgin Galactic has been grounded by the FAA along with more Top stories this week.

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[Update: FAA grounds SpaceShipTwo] Virgin Galactic responds to FAA investigation over Unity 22 flight deviation

During July’s Unity 22 spaceflight of Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, The New Yorker reports that the pilots deviated off their approved course. In the report, they state the FAA has begun an investigation; Virgin Galactic replies.

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Virgin Galactic ‘Unity 23’ mission to fly Italian Air Force and National Research Council crew

Virgin Galactic has announced its next spaceflight mission after sending founder Richard Branson to space on its previous mission.

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[Update: Last day to enter] Virgin Galactic announces sweepstakes for a trip to space

Following a successful flight to space, Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic is partnering with Omaze for a trip giveaway for you and a guest.

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Virgin Galactic releases Unity 22 Highlight Reel [Video]

While Virgin Galactic ran into some technical difficulties with the live views from the cabin of VSS Unity, you can now watch the crew experience spaceflight. The crew spent just over a minute above the 50 miles high definition of space but experienced ~2-3 minutes of zero gravity.

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[Update: WSJ confirms] Elon Musk reportedly buys ticket on Virgin Galactic flight

The Wall Street Journal has been able to confirm that Elon Musk has bought a ticket on Virgin Galactic. Although Musk himself hasn’t said anything.


Today we witnessed history as the first fully crewed flight of Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane VSS Unity. This was one of the final test flights before Galactic begin flying paying customers next year.

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Top stories this week: Richard Branson reaches space, Dragon Capsule returns, and more

This has been a busy week in spaceflight. Many of the major space companies have had notable events; from Richard Branson’s flight to space with Virgin Galactic to Relativity Space’s strongback install.

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Live Blog: Virgin Galactic to launch Richard Branson and Unity22 crew to space

The moment that Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, has been waiting to do for decades has come. He will finally join an elite group of people to ride a vehicle into space with Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed mission.

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Elon tweet brings some much-needed unity between private space companies

The last few weeks have seen some fierce competition and mudslinging between private spaceflight companies. From Elon Musk’s criticisms of ULA and Blue Origin, to Blue Origin’s criticism of Virgin Galactic, there has been very little peace on Space Twitter recently. That’s why Elon Musk’s recent reply to Richard Branson was so nice to see.

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Opinion: Blue Origin needs to stop their childish Kármán Line argument

With the upcoming flight of Richard Branson on Unity22 this weekend it’s easy to say there’s probably some tension between Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. But instead of raising to the occasion and celebrating the strives of their industry, Blue Origin throws a low blow and trashes Galactic on a technicality.

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Watch Virgin Galactic send Richard Branson and crew to space during first livestream

Set aside some time on Sunday to catch Virgin Galactic’s very first livestream of a crewed spaceflight on the company’s SpaceShipTwo Unity spaceplane. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson will be a passenger on the first fully crewed spaceflight on SS2, and special guests include host Stephen Colbert and artist Khalid.

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Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson set to go to space 9 days before Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin

There is really no material value in one billionaire beating another billionaire to space. Yet Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is scheduled to be aboard his company’s spacecraft during a suborbital flight before Jeff Bezos rides his rocket with Blue Origin.

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FAA gives Virgin Galactic its full commercial launch license

Last Friday it was announced that Virgin Galactic was awarded their full commercial launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration. The marks the beginning of their operational status for crewed sub-orbital flights to space.

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This Day In Space (June 21, 2004): SpaceShipOne makes first-ever privately funded crewed spaceflight

On this day 17 years ago the age of privately funded space ventures reached a major milestone with Mojave Aerospace Ventures’ SpaceShipOne flight. Mojave Aerospace Ventures is a joint venture between Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites, largely funded by Paul Allen. This marked the first privately funded and developed crewed spaceflight and also led won Mojave Aerospace Ventures the Ansari X Prize.

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Virgin Galactic achieves human spaceflight from Spaceport America

After an unsuccessful attempt to reach space last December, today, Virgin Galactic reached space from Spaceport America earlier today with Pilots CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay aboard VSS Unity.

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Virgin Galactic now knows why its suborbital spaceplane didn’t reach space in December

Virgin Galactic is developing a suborbital spaceplane called SpaceShipTwo Unity that is designed to fly passengers and payloads to zero gravity. A VSS Unity test flight in early December failed to reach space as intended, however, and now the company knows why.

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Space tourism and travel predicted to become $7.9 billion market with 41,000 passengers by 2030

Buying a ticket to space has long been a dream that will soon become reality for some and a possibility for even more.

We’re very much in the early days of companies competing for customers who want to experience space firsthand, and 2021 is poised to be a pivotal year for companies including Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin for proving their technology is passenger-ready.

A new report published today predicts the size of the space tourism and travel market by 2030 based on the current pace of innovation. The upshot is that the number of space tourists among us could be measured in the tens of thousands by the end of the decade.

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First scientist selected to visit space aboard SpaceShipTwo discusses why he’s going

On October 14, NASA announced that it had selected an experiment by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to participate in its Flight Opportunities program. However, what’s unique about this experiment is that the payload will include a human named Alan Stern.

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Virgin Galactic suborbital spaceplane falls short of reaching space during weekend test flight

Virgin Galactic has ambitious plans to open the edge of space to passengers on its suborbital spaceplane called SpaceShipTwo Unity. Opening the window to space is no simple task, however, and Virgin Galactic is at the mercy of testing and iterating to reach its goal.

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Virgin Galactic unveils new flightsuits created in partnership with Under Armour

Today, Virgin Galactic has shown off its new non-pressurized flightsuits that its pilots will be wearing in the near future. The flightsuits were designed and created with Technical Spacewear Partner Under Armour.

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Virgin Galactic sets flight window for sub-orbital spaceplane after recent COVID-19 shutdown

After being forced to pause most of its operations at its Spaceport America site in mid-November due to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, Virgin Galactic is planning on resuming operations under strict guidelines to keep their workers safe.

Virgin announced that it will be opening its first window to launch its VSS Unity sub-orbital spaceplane from its facilities at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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Virgin Galactic and Masten Space Systems join 4 companies in NASA Flight Opportunities program

NASA’s Flight Opportunities program helps scientific and technology demonstration projects have access to the low gravity environment it needs to conduct tests. Virgin Galactic and Masten Space Systems are the latest space companies to join the program. Adding to the four companies already selected, this expanded contract now gives researchers more options for getting their projects into long term zero gravity.

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Virgin Galactic forced to ‘pause’ VSS Unity flight test plans at Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic has delayed its planned flight of Virgin SpaceShip Unity from Spaceport America this week. CEO Michael Colglazier cited cited guidance from the New Mexico Department of Health during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as reason for the need to reschedule.

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Virgin Galactic packs Q2 with CEO swap, cabin design reveal, Mach 3 high-speed aircraft deal

Virgin Galactic is leaning all the way in on plans to build out future spaceflight and advanced flight services as a business. The company tapped a Disney executive as CEO and unveiled its spacecraft interior design in July. Now Virgin Galactic is teasing a future high-speed aircraft design in partnership with Rolls-Royce.

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Virgin Galactic highlights SpaceShipTwo glide test, NASA agreement in Q1 2020 financial results

From a successful test flight to a new NASA agreement, the first five days in May have been jam-packed for Virgin Galactic.

Now add its first-quarter earnings results (and second-ever investor call) to the list.

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Virgin Galactic schedules Q1 2020 financial results and conference call for May 5

Virgin Galactic has scheduled a quarterly conference call to discuss Q1 2020 financial results. The call is set to for 5 p.m. EDT on May 5.

The publicly traded space company used its previous (and first-ever) quarterly conference call as an opportunity to announce its new “One Small Step” program.

Virgin Galactic has been accepting refundable $1000 registration fees for preparing customers for spaceflight since late February so we can expect an update on the program.

The company last shared that its 2020 goal was to send Richard Branson to space as a demonstration of its service. Hopefully we can learn how coronavirus has affected that goal since COVID-19’s spread across the United States in March.

Speaking of the novel coronavirus, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides published a detailed blog post today that describes how the company is aiding in the fight against the pandemic.

Part of the effort includes a new live educational series on YouTube while schools in the U.S. are closed as an effort to fight the coronavirus spread.

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Artemis lunar mission boosting public and investor support, says Morgan Stanley Space Team

Turns out investment bank Morgan Stanley has a dedicated Space Team, and they’re awfully jazzed about the impact NASA’s Artemis Moon mission is having on public and investor support in the companies like Virgin Galactic.

The Morgan Stanley Space Team advises that “increased news flow around space tourism could catalyze itself in increasing awareness to a larger breadth of investors being interested in Virgin Galactic,” specifically citing the firm for being the only pure-play publicly traded space tourism company.

Virgin Galactic recently shared its first full year of earnings results as a publicly traded company and made steps toward making space tourism possible. SpaceX similarly has ambitions to build a business out of taking private citizens to space for longer durations than Blue Origin.

NASA’s Artemis mission to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 is credited for driving public awareness of space activity, and the investment firm believes consumers will associate Virgin Galactic with human spaceflight innovation “as the business shifts from a niche experience catering to high net worth individuals to investing in more applications in space.”

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Virgin Galactic taking $1,000 deposits for spaceflight sales after nearly 8,000 registrations of interest

Two pieces of breaking news from Virgin Galactic.

First, Virgin Galactic says 7,957 registrations of interest in flight reservations have been made as of February 23, 2020. That’s up 124% from 3,557 as of September 30, 2019.

Second, a new “One Small Step” program will allow prospective flyers to pay a $1,000 refundable deposit to jump ahead of the queue when spaceflight sales resume. The “One Giant Leap” process will come later to confirm a “spaceflight reservation and gain full membership to the thriving Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut Community” after full payments are made.

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