Valerie Wilson Travel

Virgin Galactic 6

About the Spacecraft

This was the 11th spaceflight for Virgin Galactic, an American company founded by Richard Branson. Spaceflight 6 had its first launch of 2024, with astronauts from three countries – Austria, Ukraine, and the United States. It is said that Richard Branson met New Mexico’s governor Bill Richardson in 2005 and said, “If you build a spaceship, I will build you a spaceport” and Richard Branson replied, “if you build me a spaceport, I will build a spaceship” and the rest is history.

The spaceport is located in sunny southern New Mexico, a region that experiences over 300 days of sunshine every year, the perfect atmosphere for space flight. In addition, the U.S. White Sands Missile Range is nearby, making the area a no-fly zone.

The Flight

Our exciting day started at 7am by hopping on a bus in Las Cruces, New Mexico and traveling 45 minutes to the spaceport. Norman Foster, a British architect famous for high-tech architecture, cleverly built the hanger into the side of the landscape. The building houses an office, command center, and a viewing area. The viewing area welcomes family and friends of the astronauts, VIP guests, suppliers, press, and investors.

The astronauts promptly boarded the VSS Unity, the craft that would take the crew into space. At exactly 10am, the mothership and VSS Unity took off. At an altitude of 44,493 feet, the VSS Unity was released and blasted off to an apogee of 55.2 miles obtaining a speed of Mach 2.98 (equivalent to about 2,290 mph). While the VSS Unity soared into suborbital space, the astronauts enjoyed zero gravity and did some space somersaults before heading back to earth at 10:56am.

Upon landing, the astronauts and the crowd cheered for their safe return to earth. Each astronaut spoke in awe about looking down at our precious earth and then thanked the 1,000 employees at Virgin Galactic that made space flight possible.

I was especially impressed by the hard work and dedication of the Virgin Galactic employees, without their determination, this cutting-edge technology would not have been possible. I am fascinated by spaceflight. By visiting the spaceport, I am closer to my dream of traveling beyond Earth!

White Sands National Park

Last but not least, Las Cruces is also home to one of the most interesting US National Parks, White Sands National Park. This park is made up of gorgeous sand dunes, part of the Chihuahuan Desert. Explore this beautiful park at sunset where you can watch the sunset over the park and the nearby San Andres Mountains.

Ready to plan a trip to space?