-sns-2 Virgin Galactic Unity 25: Get to Know the Launch Crew Ready for the SNS-2 Flight

"Virgin Galactic Unites: Meet the Crew!": An Astounding Look at a Historic Moment in Space Travel

Published by Astra | Space News Specialist

Virgin Galactic’s Unity Flight 25: Meet the Trailblazing Astronauts Onboard!

Virgin Galactic recently made history with the 25th flight of their reusable rocket-powered spaceplane Unity and it was a day to remember! The rocket completed its supersonic flight to an altitude of 51.4-miles, carrying two astronauts onboard – the first pilots to be awarded commercial astronaut wings from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Let’s dive into the details of this incredible milestone flight and meet the brave astronauts who made it possible.

The Big Day: Unity Flight 25 Takes Off

  • At 7:12:37 am EDT on May 22, 2021, Unity blasted off from its launch site in Spaceport America, making it the 25th successful flight of a reusable space plane.
  • The experimental spaceplane is propelled by a combination of a rocket engine and air-breathing engines.
  • Unity carried 2 astronauts onboard, NASA astronauts Mike Massimino and Kayla Barron.
  • The rocket made a smooth supersonic flight, reaching an apogee of 56.75 miles  (51.4 miles above the surface of Earth).

The Trailblazing Astronauts on Board Unity Flight 25

  • Piloting Unity were chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses and Pete Siebold, director of astronaut strategy & sales.
  • Mike Massimino, a former NASA astronaut, was a passenger on board. Massimino was the first person to send a tweet from space during his 2008 mission.
  • The 2nd passenger was Kayla Barron, also a former NASA astronaut. Barron was the first woman to be accepted into the program after its relaunch.

Making History: Commercial Astronaut Wings Earned

For the first time in history, Massimino and Barron were awarded Commercial Astronaut Wings by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), recognizing them as commercial astronauts. This accomplishment marks the first of its kind and sets a precedent for future commercial space missions.

Astra's Hot Take:

History was made on Virgin Galactic’s 25th Unity launch and the courageous astronauts onboard continue to inspire space exploration and innovation. I’m over the moon (pun intended) for Mike Massimino and Kayla Barron on being the first to earn commercial astronaut wings from the FAA. It’s a stellar victory for Virgin Galactic and these two inspiring moonwalkers!