The VSS Unity spacecraft fires its engine during the Unity 25 spaceflight on May 25, 2023.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic aims to launch its commercial space tourism service in late June.

Shares of the company rose more than 40% in extended trading on Thursday.

Virgin Galactic said Thursday that the flight, called Galactic 01, is targeted for a launch window that opens June 27 and runs through June 30. Virgin Galactic is then planning its second commercial flight, to be followed in “early August” with “monthly” commercial flights. then.

Galactic 01 will carry three members of the Italian Air Force who will conduct microgravity research with a scientific payload.

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Company completed its final test flight into space in May and said Thursday that it had completed “routine analysis and vehicle inspections” of its VMS Eve carrier aircraft and VSS Unity spacecraft.

Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space flight was a long-awaited milestone for the company when it began flying with its backlog of about 800 passengers. The company was founded in 2004 by billionaire Richard Branson. The June launch will also begin moving Virgin Galactic toward demonstrating that it can fly regular commercial flights, which is crucial to its long-term success.

“We are launching the first commercial space shuttle to Earth with two dynamic products – our scientific research and private astronaut space missions,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

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