Virgin Galactic Announces Crew for ‘Galactic 01’ First Commercial Spaceflight Mission

Virgin Galactic Announces Crew for ‘Galactic 01’ First Commercial Spaceflight Mission

Virgin Galactic Holdings, announced the crew of its first commercial spaceflight, ‘Galactic 01,’ with a target flight date of June 29, 2023. This historic mission represents a new era in government-funded commercial human-tended research missions. The three-person crew from the Italian Air Force and National Research Council of Italy will board VSS Unity for a 90-minute flight to conduct a series of suborbital science experiments. VSS Unity’s cabin will be transformed into a suborbital science lab to provide the environment for rack-mounted payloads and for the crew to interact with wearable payloads.

"'Galactic 01' is our first commercial spaceflight, and we’re honored to have been selected by the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council to support their first space research mission, ‘Virtute 1’. Virgin Galactic’s research missions will usher in a new era of repeatable and reliable access to space for government and research institutions for years to come." said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic.

Mission Objectives

  • Conduct 13 human-tended and autonomous experiments which examine biomedicine thermo-fluid dynamics, and the development of innovative and sustainable materials in microgravity conditions.
  • Collect data through wearable payloads and sensors, and by autonomous payloads mounted in the cabin on Virgin Galactic’s payload rack system.

The Crew

 Col. Walter Villadei - Italian Airforce

  • In 2021, Col. Villadei started his professional astronaut training at NASA through Axiom Space and in 2022 qualified as the Ax-2 mission backup pilot. He performed multiple extreme analog training activities including centrifuge, parabolic flight, NOLS, survival training, flight training, and scuba diving.
  • Qualified on Soyuz, ISS systems, and Orlan for EVA activities.
  • Col. Villadei is the ‘Virtute 1’ mission commander. He will be tending to the rack-mounted payloads and wearing a state-of-the-art smart suit to measure his biometric data and physiological responses. He is in charge of the research execution and this spaceflight is part of his astronaut training for a future orbital space mission to the ISS.

Lt. Col. Angelo Landolfi - Physician, Italian Air Force

  • Undergraduate degrees in medicine & surgery, diving & hyperbaric medicine, and forensic medicine.
  • Master’s degrees in public health and preventative medicine, and in international military strategic studies.
  • Ph.D. in Legal Medicine and Forensic Science.
  • Trained as a crew surgeon as part of the Cosmonaut training program and is a trained flight test surgeon.
  • EASA Aeromedical Examiner and CRM trainer.
  • Lt. Col. Landolfi plans to conduct tests on ‘Galactic 01’ to measure cognitive performance in microgravity and to investigate how certain liquids and solids mix in microgravity.

Pantaleone Carlucci - Engineer, National Research Council of Italy (CNR)

  • Technical engineer and pilot that has worked at the CNR for more than 8 years in the fields of engineering of scientific instrumentation on aircraft platforms, with a focus on the implementation of payloads.
  • In charge of technical coordination of strategic projects on stratospheric platforms and air launches.
  • Member of various coordination committees set up under framework agreements that the CNR has signed with companies operating in the space and aerospace sectors.
  • On the ‘Galactic 01’ mission Carlucci will be conducting tests that involve wearing multiple sensors that examine heart rate, brain function, and other human performance metrics during spaceflight and in microgravity.

Colin Bennett - Astronaut Instructor, Virgin Galactic Italian Air Force Engineer, National Research Council of Italy (CNR)

  • Colin is the lead astronaut instructor carrying out all training and preparation for the Italian Air Force mission and will fly with the crew to assess the research flight experience during the mission.
  • Colin is Astronaut 003, who joined Sir Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed mission, Unity 22.
  • Previously served several roles in Mission Control including Flight Director. 

"We’re proud to be facilitating international collaboration between spacefaring nations and industry pioneers to expand human knowledge. This flight will showcase our distinctive spaceflight systems, which allow researchers to fly with their experiments, and our capacity to offer regular access to space for the science and technology community," said Sirisha Bandla, Vice President, Government Affairs and Research Operations.

"VIRTUTE 1 mission is the first Italian and European suborbital flight. A breakthrough and pathfinder mission, conceived and designed with the Italian National Research Council and Virgin Galactic to test the versatility of suborbital spaceflight for scientific and technological research. We are flying payloads from multiple disciplines in one mission and are utilizing the entire flight profile to collect invaluable data. Suborbital spaceflight will revolutionize aeronautics transportation in the future, expanding access to space for a much larger community, and advance the development of scientific research." said Colonel Walter Villadei, 'Virtute 1' Mission Commander.

Click here to learn about all 13 experiments onboard the 'Galactic 01' spaceflight.

Click here to learn about Virgin Galactic’s spaceflight platform and microgravity research flight capabilities.

Publisher: SatNow
Tags:-  Ground

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013