Virgin Galactic delays next flight by 1 day, to Oct. 6

earth as seen from virgin galactic's vss unity suborbital space plane.
The view from Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity space plane during its Galactic 02 spaceflight on Aug. 10, 2023. (Image credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic has delayed its next space tourism mission by a day, to Friday (Oct. 6). 

The slip will "give our team an additional day to complete vehicle prep and checks. We look forward to taking to the skies in a few days!" Virgin Galactic wrote via X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday (Oct. 1).

The upcoming mission, called Galactic 04, will send three paying customers to suborbital space and back on Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity space plane. Unity will lift off beneath the wings of its carrier plane, VMS Eve, from New Mexico's Spaceport America.

Related: Virgin Galactic launches 3 of its original space tourist customers to the final frontier (video)

The three customers are British advertising executive Trevor Beattie, American astronomy educator Ron Rosano and adventurer Namira Salim, who will become the first Pakistani to reach the final frontier.

The trio will be joined in Unity's cabin by Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic's chief astronaut instructor. The space plane will be flown by Kelly Latimer and C.J. Sturckow, while Nicola Pecile and Jameel Janjua will pilot Eve.

Both vehicles will land back at Spaceport America when their duties are done. 

Galactic 04 will be Virgin's fourth commercial spaceflight endeavor, following similar efforts that took place in June, August and September of this year.

The company plans to fly roughly once per month with Unity for the foreseeable future. But the pace will really pick up in 2026 or so, when the first of the company's new "Delta class" of space planes comes online. Those vehicles are designed to launch as frequently as once per week, company representatives have said.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.