Mission Objectives

  • Conducted 13 human-tended and autonomous experiments to examine the biomedical field, thermo-fluid dynamics and the development of innovative and sustainable materials in microgravity conditions.

  • Evaluated and measured hypergravity to microgravity transition effects on the human body, including both biological and physical data properties.

  • Collected data through wearable research payloads and sensors, and by autonomous research payloads mounted in the cabin on Virgin Galactic’s payload rack system.

In Flight Facts

  • 8:30 am MT
    Take-off Time
  • 44, 500Feet
    Altitude at Release
  • 52.9Miles
  • 2.88Mach
    Top Speed
  • 9:42 amMT
    Landing Time

Next Steps

Post-flight inspections and analysis in preparation for next commercial space mission, ‘Galactic 02,’ which will bring Virgin Galactic’s unique experience to private astronauts. The mission is planned for August, with monthly flights to space beginning thereafter.

“Today, our team successfully flew six people and more than a dozen research payloads to space in VSS Unity, our unique, suborbital science lab. This historic flight was our first commercial flight and our first dedicated commercial research mission – ushering in a new era of repeatable and reliable access to space for private passengers and researchers. ‘Galactic 02,’ our first spaceflight with private astronauts, is planned for August and we expect VSS Unity to continue with monthly space missions while we simultaneously work to scale our future spaceship fleet for a global audience.”
"I am beyond proud to be a part of this historic spaceflight. ‘Galactic 01’ is Italy’s first commercial suborbital research spaceflight, and an amazing achievement made possible thanks to the long-lasting collaboration between the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy. During the centennial year of both Italian institutions, we fly to the highest point of our history. This groundbreaking collaboration propels Italy into the new era of commercial spaceflight as a pathfinder, fostering innovation and paving the way for further technological enhancement in this strategic domain. Together, and in partnership with Virgin Galactic, we have set a precedent for future endeavors and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. We honor today all the people who not only have made possible this amazing flight, but all the ones who have dedicated their life to our beliefs in this past 100 years. Virtute Siderum Tenus.”
Col. Walter Villadei ・Italian Air Force
“We are honored that our first commercial spaceflight enabled the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy to successfully carry out their first suborbital research experiments. This successful mission gives us just a preview of what discoveries may result from reliable access to space to further scientific knowledge.”
Sirisha Bandla • VP of Government Affairs and Research Operations

Galactic 01 Crew

  • Col. Walter Villadei

    Astronaut 008 • Mission Commander, Italian Air Force

    Qualified on Soyuz, ISS systems, and Orlan for EVA activities. In 2021, Col. Villadei started his professional astronaut training at NASA through Axiom Space and in 2022 qualified as the Ax-2 mission backup pilot. He performed multiple extreme analog training activities including centrifuge, parabolic flight, NOLS, survival training, flight training and scuba diving. Col. Villadei was the ‘Virtute 1’ mission commander. He tended to the rack-mounted payloads and wore a state-of-the-art smart suit to measure his biometric data and physiological responses. He was in charge of the research execution and the spaceflight will use part of his astronaut training for a future orbital space mission to the ISS.

  • Lt. Col Angelo Landolfi

    Astronaut 009 • Physician, Italian Air Force

    Undergraduate degrees in medicine & surgery, diving & hyperbaric medicine, and forensic medicine. Master’s degrees in Public Health and Preventative medicine, and in International Military Strategic Studies. Ph.D. in Legal Medicine and Forensic Science. Trained as a crew surgeon as part of Cosmonaut training program and is a trained flight test surgeon. Lt. Col. Landolfi conducted tests on 'Galactic 01' to measure cognitive performance in microgravity and to investigate how certain liquids and solids mix in microgravity.

  • Pantaleone Carlucci

    Astronaut 010 • Engineer, National Research Council of Italy

    Energy engineer and pilot who has worked at the CNR for over 8 years in the fields of engineering of scientific instrumentation on aircraft platforms, with a focus on the implementation of payloads. In charge of technical coordination of strategic projects on stratospheric platforms and air launch. Member of various coordination committees set up under framework agreements that the CNS has signed with companies operating in the space and aerospace sectors. On the 'Galactic 01' mission served as flight engineer and payload specialist, wearing multiple sensors that examine heart rate, brain function and other human performance metrics during spaceflight and in microgravity.

  • Colin Bennett

    Astronaut 003 • Astronaut Instructor, Virgin Galactic

    Colin is the lead astronaut instructor carrying out all training and preparation for the Italian Air Force mission, and will fly with the crew to assess the research flight experience during the mission.

    Colin is Astronaut 003, who joined Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic's first fully crewed mission, Unity 22. Previously served several roles in Mission Control including Flight Director.

Galactic 01 Pilots

  • Mike Masucci

    Commander • VSS Unity

    • FLYING SINCE: 1982

    • NO. OF TYPES FLOWN: 80+

    • MAIN TYPES FLOWN: U-2, F-16, T-38, Citation X

    • TOTAL EXPERIENCE: 10,000+ Hours

  • Nicola Pecile

    Pilot • VSS Unity

    • FLYING SINCE: 1991

    • NO. OF TYPES FLOWN: 170

    • MAIN TYPES FLOWN: Tornado FMK, 3 ADV, NH-500E

    • TOTAL EXPERIENCE: 7,700+ Hours

  • Kelly Latimer

    Commander • VMS Eve

    • FLYING SINCE: 1989

    • NO. OF TYPES FLOWN: 50+

    • MAIN TYPES FLOWN: T-38, C-141, C-17, T-34, B-747SP

    • TOTAL EXPERIENCE: 6,700+ Hours

  • Jameel Janjua

    Pilot • VMS Eve

    • FLYING SINCE: 1995

    • NO. OF TYPES FLOWN: 60+

    • MAIN TYPES FLOWN: CF-18, F-16, Tornado GR4, F-15, Learjet

    • TOTAL EXPERIENCE: 4,000+ Hours

Galactic 01 Assets

For media inquiries
Aleanna Crane
Vice President, Communications
+1 (575) 800-4422
For investor inquiries
Eric Cerny
Vice President, Investor Relations
+1 (949) 774-7637

About Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic is an aerospace and space travel company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers with its advanced air and space vehicles. It has developed a spaceflight system designed to connect the world to the love, wonder and awe created by space travel and to offer customers a transformative experience. You can find more information at https://www.virgingalactic.com/.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). All statements contained in this press release other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding our spaceflight systems, expected flight schedule and window, expected inflight activities, providing safe and repeatable access to space, our research capabilities for our Delta fleet, astronaut experience, and future astronauts, pilots and crew are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “potential,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, though not all forward-looking statements use these words or expressions. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward looking statements, including but not limited to the factors, risks and uncertainties included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the Investor Relations section of our website at www.virgingalactic.com, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change.