While Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have been winning the billionaire space race, Richard Branson is finally getting space tourism misison off the ground.
The final test flight — Unity 25 — occurred last month, USA Today reported. A “mother ship” carried the spaceplane to 44,500 feet where the plane was released and glided back down to Earth. The mission lasted about an hour.
It was the first flight in two years after several challenges, BBC News reported.
Three Italian researchers will be on board the first commercial space flight.
The researchers are from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Centre of Italy, studying microgravity at the edge of space, BBC News reported.
After that, monthly flights will be launched starting in August if all goes as planned. It will cost $450,000 per private astronaut. About 1,000 people signed up last February, USA Today reported.
“This next exciting chapter for Virgin Galactic has been driven by innovation, determination and a commitment to delivering an unparalleled and truly transformative customer experience,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement, according to USA Today.