Watching Virgin Galactic’s first human spaceflight from Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic first human spaceflight from New Mexico 2021
Virgin Galactic
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Published on 21 May 2021

Delighted to be on the flightline to watch Virgin Galactic’s first human spaceflight from the majestic Spaceport America, New Mexico.

It was so wonderful to be with the team for Virgin Galactic’s third spaceflight, as New Mexico become the third US state to launch humans into space. 

What a feeling to look on in awe as our brilliant pilots CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay flew VSS Unity to space and glided back down to its stunning new home at Spaceport America. We have now flown seven people to space as we continue our mission to open up space for all. 

I jumped for joy as we achieved a speed of Mach 3 and an altitude of 55.45 miles, and celebrated with Virgin Galactic’s CEO Michael Colglazier and the team. When I gave the pilots a hug when they got back to Earth, Dave said to me: “You’re going to love it!”

15 years ago, New Mexico embarked on a journey to create the world’s first commercial spaceport. When I first met New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, I said to him: “We’ll build you a spaceline if you build us a spaceport.” His response was: “We’ll build you a spaceport if you build us a spaceline.”

15 years later, we launched the first human spaceflight from that very same place, marking an important milestone for both Virgin Galactic and New Mexico. 

I am so proud of the team for their hard work and grateful to the people of New Mexico who have been unwavering in their commitment for commercial spaceflight from day one. Their belief and support have made today’s historic achievement possible.

This is an important step for the team’s flight test program, as the flight collected useful data and carried revenue-generating scientific research experiments as part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. The team are now reviewing the test data and then plan to proceed with confidence to the next flight test milestone. 

The spaceflight was conducted under strict COVID-19 protocols. Having been fully vaccinated, it was a real pleasure to be back spending time with our Virgin family on such a special day.

Congratulations to all of the team! Follow Virgin Galactic to see some truly remarkable footage from our latest space flight.