Richard Branson’s aerospace company Virgin Galactic has announced a contract for a special research flight by Kelly Gerard, a member of the International Space Institute (IIAS). The astronaut will conduct experiments and test new health technologies while in space.
The company’s shares in the premarket rose 7.61% to $ 33.5.
“Much of our mission is to provide scientists and researchers with reliable and frequent access to space for space exploration. We are very proud to send Kelly into space so that she can fulfill her lifelong dream, conduct important research and inspire the next generation of researchers and astronauts, ”said Michael Colglasier, CEO of Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic expects to provide new benefits to the space science research community by offering the availability and quality of a weightless environment that have historically been barriers for many to conduct spaceflight research.
During the space flight, Kelly will unbuckle from his seat and take the necessary steps to complete each experiment for a few minutes of weightlessness. Virgin Galactic will provide individual training and preparation so that the astronaut is fully equipped with everything necessary to perform their work.
The IIAS and Virgin Galactic teams will work with academic and government partners to carefully plan Kelly’s flight activities to make the most of the science and technology advances from research experiments.
Research experiments will include measurements by biomonitoring devices, including Astroskin Bio-Monitor weightlessness sensor systems. Such devices are designed to measure the biological effects of launch, weightlessness, entry into the atmosphere and landing on participants in space flight. The second part of the experiment involves research on the presence of liquid in weightlessness, the data of which can be used to create new technologies, such as humidifiers for life support systems of spacecraft, as well as the production of new syringes for drugs in space.
Earlier, Virgin Galactic successfully tested a manned spacecraft SpaceShipTwoUnity. The VMS Eve carrier lifted it to a height of more than 13.7 km, after which the ship flew on its own. This flight was the company’s first successful test since February 2019. Companies need to conduct only three test flights before the first commercial launch.
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