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Virgin Galactic

And now they’re back.

The crew of the Galactic 01 mission has returned safely after their brief trip to space aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity vehicle. A successful end to the company’s first commercial flight at least finally puts it on the board in the race between SpaceX and Virgin Galactic for commercial spaceflight after SpaceX took a paid crew to the Space Station last year.

Virgin Galactic’s first commercial spaceflight is already in the air, and you can watch the livestream here.

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft is already getting a ride from its mothership that’s boosting the company’s first commercial flight crew along their trip. The livestream is scheduled to begin at 11AM ET, and you can see it below.

Virgin Galactic’s first crewed flight since 2021 was the last one before it goes commercial.

Unity 25 was the company’s first trip in nearly two years, but now Virgin Galactic (not Virgin Orbit, RIP) is preparing to launch “commercial spaceline operations” with the Galactic 01 mission in late June.

The mission flew 54.2 miles away from Earth’s surface (Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have opinions on whether or not that counts as spaceflight), and you can watch the recap right here.

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So that’s it for Virgin Orbit.

At the end of March, we learned satellite launching company Virgin Orbit had laid off most of its staff and would cease operations “for the foreseeable future.” Now the door to a comeback has been closed after it failed to find a wholesale buyer or cash infusion and will shut down for good (Virgin Galactic, which it spun off from in 2017, is still going).

CNBC reports the bankrupt company’s assets and gear were sold at auction to Rocket Lab, Stratolaunch, and Launcher, which is a subsidiary of Vast Space.

When your next door neighbor is a glittering spaceport

A tiny New Mexico town has been waiting for space tourists to fly down the road