Virgin Galactic completes 12th successful spaceflight

Virgin Galactic's Galactic 07 crew in space
Virgin Galactic
Headshot of Greg Rose
by Greg Rose
9 June 2024

Virgin Galactic has completed its second spaceflight of 2024 and 12th mission to date, carrying one researcher and three private astronauts. Yesterday’s ‘Galactic 07’ flight marks Virgin Galactic’s seventh research mission with VSS Unity again serving as a suborbital lab for space-based scientific research.

Onboard ‘Galactic 07’ were:

  • Astronaut 027 – Tuva Cihangir Atasever, Turkish Space Agency (TUA) astronaut and Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) Backup Mission Specialist

  • Astronaut 028 – Anand “Andy” Harish Sadhwani, California, USA

  • Astronaut 029 – Irving Izchak Pergament, New York, USA

  • Astronaut 030 – Giorgio Manenti, Italy

VSS Unity was piloted by Commander Nicola Pecile and Pilot Jameel Janjua. VMS Eve was piloted by Commander Andy Edgell and Pilot C.J. Sturckow.

Richard Branson with the Galactic 07 team
Michellle Mendiola

Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said: “Watching our pioneering spaceship VSS Unity return from space on its final commercial flight was a breathtaking and proud moment, as we celebrate the ship’s unprecedented achievements in human spaceflight and build momentum for the rollout of our first Delta-class ships in 2026.”

Richard Branson was on the flightline in New Mexico to welcome the new astronauts back to Spaceport America, along with the crew from the Virgin founder’s spaceflight, Unity 22.

On today’s flight, Atasever flew with three human-tended experiments, including custom headgear with brain activity monitoring sensors to collect physiological data related to human spaceflight; a dosimeter; and two commercially available insulin pens to examine the ability to administer accurate insulin doses in microgravity. He also participated in four investigations carried out by Turkish researchers on the ground to understand physiological changes during suborbital spaceflight. Atasever said:

“I am beyond grateful to have represented my country on ‘Galactic 07’ and conduct groundbreaking research that will impact future space missions. The successful completion of Ax-3 and now ‘Galactic 07’ is just the beginning of Türkiye’s space endeavors. May our people at home continue to be inspired and dream beyond the stars.”

‘Galactic 07’ also flew two autonomous rack-mounted payloads supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program – a Purdue University experiment to study propellant slosh for spacecraft propulsion applications and a University of California, Berkeley experiment to test new 3D printing technology while in microgravity.

Galactic 07 research lab
Virgin Galactic

The flight was Virgin Galactic’s seventh spaceflight carrying microgravity and space-based research, following last year’s research missions – ‘Galactic 05’ with US Planetary Scientist Dr. Alan Stern and US Payload Specialist and Bioastronautics Researcher Kellie Gerardi, and ‘Galactic 01’ with the Italian Air Force and National Research Council.

Galactic 07 spaceflight
Virgin Galactic

Building on VSS Unity’s unrivaled record in commercial human spaceflight (32 total flights including 12 to space), the company is now producing its fourth-generation and most advanced spaceships, the Delta class, expected to enter commercial service in 2026.