(ANSA) – Rome, June 28 – Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight and the first suborbital flight by an Italian and European crew are scheduled for 17.00 Italian time on June 29. Col. Walter Veladi and Lt. Col. Angelo Landolfi, both from the Italian Air Force, and Pantaleone Carlucci, an engineer and researcher with the National Research Council, prepare to board the VSS Unity 25 shuttle. With them will be Colin Bennett, a Virgin Galactic instructor and expert on the company’s suborbital flights.
In the expedition there is also another Italian name, Nicola Pessel, originally from Friuli and the only test pilot for our country chosen by Virgin Galactic, also a veteran of the history of tests that lay the foundations of space tourism. He is one of the pilots of White Knight Two, the mother plane that will have to carry the shuttle to an altitude of about 15 kilometers and then launch it and continue its journey up to an altitude of 80-90 kilometers. Jamil Janjua also captains White Knight Two, while Mike Masucci and Kelly Latimer take the helm. The US company notes in a note that the flight opens “a new era in government-funded commercial research missions.”
There are 13 experiments that the three Italians will have to do on their mission, called Virtute 1 (Italian Expedition for Subtropical Research and Technology). The tests relate to areas ranging from thermofluid dynamics and biomedicine, to the development of innovative materials and will. It must be performed in 90 minutes of suborbital flight duration, during which it will be three minutes in microgravity.
“Galactic 01 is our first commercial spaceflight, and we are honored to have been selected by the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council for their first research mission in space, Virtute 1,” notes Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier. “Virgin Galactic – he adds – will usher in a new era of frequent and reliable access to space for enterprises and research institutes for years to come.”
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