Virgin Galactic launch live stream: Watch Galactic 02 mission with civilians on board

The future of commercial space travel is took off in New Mexico on Thursday.

Virgin Galactic, part of British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group conglomerate, launched a ship bound for space Thursday, Aug. 10, with six people aboard.

Unlike previous flights, three of the passengers are not trained astronauts or Virgin Galactic employees — they are regular civilians who paid their way into space or won a contest for their tickets to the stars.

"The new Space Age means diversity, imagination and adventure," said Jamila Gilbert, a New Mexico native and Virgin Galactic employee who was aboard another Virgin suborbital space flight in May 2023.

"This mission is set to make history and show what we can do when we remove the barriers that once existed to becoming an astronaut," Virgin Galactic said in a tweet ahead of the upcoming launch.

The flight will last approximately 90 minutes, reaching a top speed of Mach 3 — three times the speed of sound, or 2,301 miles per hour. Passengers will experience three minutes of weightlessness at the top of the flight trajectory as they arc briefly into space before descending back to Earth.

Live updates on mission:Virgin Galactic launch set to send customers to space

Here's everything you need to know about the Galactic 02 mission.

In this Feb. 13, 2020, file photo, Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity departs Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, Calif. for the final time as Virgin Galactic shifts its SpaceFlight operations to New Mexico.

What time is the Virgin Galactic space launch live stream?

Live stream coverage of the Galactic 02 launch at 11 a.m. ET.

How to watch Virgin Galactic space mission

You can watch the launch live at the embed at top of this page or on Virgin Galactic's YouTube channel.

The flight is expected to last 90 minutes before landing back in Spaceport America later that morning.

Where is the Virgin Galactic launch?

Galactic 02 took off from Spaceport America, "the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world," located between Las Cruces, New Mexico, and the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range.

Can I visit Spaceport America?

Although the launch site is closed to the public for the Galactic 02 launch, Spaceport America does offer public tours through its tour provider, Final Frontier Tours, at other times throughout the year.

Aerospace and space travel company Virgin Galactic is set to launch its first commercial flights in the summer of 2023.

Galactic 02 crew members

The Galactic 02 mission aboard the VSS Unity will be Virgin Galactic's first space flight to carry paying customers, rather than trained astronauts or Virgin Galactic employees.

Known as Astronaut 011, Jon Goodwin is a British Olympian canoeist and adventurer. After Thursday's launch, he will be the first Olympian in space. At 80 years old, he will be one of the oldest people to have made it to space.

Goodwin will also be the second person with Parkinson's Disease to travel to space. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2014, but in spite of the disease, he has kept up a strenuous and adventurous lifestyle, recently climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

"For me to go to space and defy Parkinson's," Goodwin said in a Virgin Galactic promotional video, "is hopefully inspirational to all people."

Virgin Galactic's second commercial flight, Galactic 02, will carry passengers (left to right) Anastatia Mayers, Jon Goodwin and Keisha Schahaff to suborbital space in August 2023.

The two other civilians on VSS Unity will be Keisha Schahaff, Astronaut 012, and her daughter, Anastatia Mayers, Astronaut 013. The duo will be the first mother and daughter to visit space, as well as the first from the Caribbean islands.

Schahaff is a health and wellness coach from Antigua and Barbuda. In a news release, she spoke of her lifelong dream to go to space. "When I was 2 years old, just looking up into the skies, I was like, How can I get there?" she said in a Virgin Galactic video.

At 18, Mayers will be the second youngest person to visit space. (A younger 18 year old flew to space aboard a commercial spaceflight with Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin space travel company in 2021.) She studies philosophy and physics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland with an ambition to become an astrobiologist.

The mother-daughter duo won their tickets to space in a lottery that Schahaff entered while aboard a Virgin Atlantic flight between Antigua and London in 2021.

Joining the three civilians passengers is Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic's chief astronaut instructor who has already been to space three times with Virgin Galactic. She was responsible for training the three civilians and will ensure that everything goes smoothly aboard the VSS Unity.

The spaceship VSS Unity last went to space June 29.

More:How much is a seat on Virgin Galactic? $450,000. Here's what each trip includes.

Who will pilot the Virgin Galactic launch?

Four pilots in total are responsible for the Galactic 02 mission.

Two will fly the VMS Eve, a carrier for the VSS Unity, which will hold two more pilots, the four passengers and will detach from the "mothership" once the release altitude — 50 miles above earth, the boundary of space according to some definitions — is reached.

Nicola Pecile and Mike Masucci are responsible for piloting VMS Eve. Both have completed at least one commercial spaceflight before.

CJ Sturckow, a former NASA astronaut, and Kelly Latimer, a veteran pilot and retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, will pilot the VSS Unity. Sturckow has completed eight space flights. Galactic 02 will be Latimer's first.

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