Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson historic spaceflight set for Sunday

  • Richard Branson is accompanied by two pilots and three mission specialists.
  • Branson, who turns 71 in a week, had originally planned the flight for later this summer.
  • Virgin Galactic has plans for two more test flights before commercial service begins in 2022.

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. – Virgin Galactic and founder-passenger Richard Branson were poised Sunday to undertake their historic spaceflight from Spaceport America in Sierra County, New Mexico.

The flight, delayed 90 minutes, was expect to last about an hour.

“Overnight weather delayed the start of flight preparations, but we are on track to fly today with a newly scheduled time,” Virgin Galactic tweeted early Sunday.

Branson, who turns 71 this week, and a crew of two pilots and three mission specialists were set to launch from the air aboard the space plane VSS Unity after being carried to high altitude by the aircraft VMS Eve. Unity will then use rocket power to fly to the boundary of space.

Virgin Galactic had planned the flight for later this summer but moved it up after competitor Blue Origin and its founder, Jeff Bezos, announced plans to ride their rocket into space from West Texas on July 20. 

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