Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Aims To Convert Next Spaceship Into A Research Lab To Study Microgravity

British billionaire Richard Branson-founded space travel company Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc SPCE is now gearing up for its sixth spaceflight this year: Galactic 05.

What Happened: “During the upcoming Galactic 05 mission, Virgin Galactic's spaceship will be converted into a suborbital space lab for space-based research,” Branson wrote on X, formerly Twitter. The flight window for the mission will open on Nov. 2.

The crew on the mission includes Dr. Alan Stern, U.S. Planetary Scientist and Associate Vice President in Southwest Research Institute's (SwRI) Space Sector, and Kellie Gerardi, U.S. Payload Specialist and Bioastronautics Researcher for the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS). They will be joined by a Franco-Italian private astronaut on the journey.

Stern will collect physiological data related to human spaceflight during the mission while Gerardi evaluates novel healthcare technologies in microgravity conditions.

“Virgin's suborbital costs are low enough to open up space training actually in space as a viable opportunity, and that is a game changer,” Stern said.

Why It Matters: Virgin Galactic commenced commercial spaceline operations in June this year.

The aerospace company had suspended flights of spaceplane VSS Unity and its carrier plane VMS Eve to make enhancements in 2021, putting the company’s commercial service launch on hold.

Galactic 01 flew in June this year after being delayed from 2021 with three members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy.

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Read More: Tesla Vehicles: The Least Stolen Cars In US Thanks To GPS Tech

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