Virgin Galactic Targets Next Spaceflight for Late September

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. is planning its next suborbital spaceflight late this month or in early October. 

The test flight, which will be a research trip with two members of the Italian Air Force, an aerospace engineer and a Virgin Galactic employee, will be the company’s first commercial research mission, the company said Thursday in a statement.

The passengers will be studying biometric data and physiological responses to space travel, cognitive performance in weak gravity and human performance metrics in space. 

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed a report in the New Yorker magazine that it’s investigating a deviation during Virgin Galacatic’s last flight on July 11, which carried company founder Richard Branson and three company employees.

Virgin Galactic flies from Spaceport America, about 55 miles north of its headquarters in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The company is planning to debut tourism trips next year. 

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