The first woman to fly on a commercial spaceship

Richard Branson in a training session with Virgin Galactic
Image by Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 6 March 2019

How will it feel to fly into space on board Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity? Well, take a look at Beth Moses’ expression of joy and wonder and you will start to get an idea of how magical it will be.

Astronaut looking outside the window of a spaceship
Image by Virgin Galactic

When VSS Unity reached space for the second time in 10 weeks, Beth became the 571st person to fly to space and the first woman to fly on board a commercial spaceship. As Virgin Galactic’s Chief Astronaut Instructor, she flew with Chief Pilot Dave Mackay and co-pilot Michael “Sooch” Masucci as the third crew member in a first, live evaluation of cabin dynamics.

It also marked the first time a crew member has floated freely without restraints in weightlessness in space on board a commercial spaceship. While in zero gravity, Beth carried out a series of cabin evaluation check points, which is a key part of developing and confirming a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our future passengers.

Virgin Galactic's Beth Moses details spaceflight experience

Having Beth fly in the cabin will help to ensure that our customer journey is as flawless as the spaceship itself. It brings a huge sense of anticipation and excitement to all of us here who are looking forward to experiencing space for ourselves.

Speaking of which, Beth has been alongside me on my own journey to become a commercial space astronaut. When I carried out centrifuge training back in 2014, Beth was on hand to give me some advice on handling G forces. She also gave me some breathing exercises to carry out, and has been on hand to help over the years as I get myself ready for space.

While the wonderful team are working hard on the test flight program, take a look at this video shot from WhiteKnightTwo’s tailcam of SpaceShipTwo speeding towards space, moments after being released from our mothership. Then watch Beth, who was on board the spaceship, explaining in her own words what it felt like.