Virgin Galactic is launching its first commercial research mission called "Unity 23" with the Italian Air Force at the edge of space, it said Thursday.
The space travel company has scheduled a mission in late September or early October that will carry three paid crew members from the Air Force and the National Research Council, a Rome-based government agency.
The crew will study the effects on the human body as they move from gravity to a low-gravity environment and provide insights for future spaceflight systems and technologies.
The mission follows a successful first crewed test flight to space Virgin Galactic passenger rocket in July
The company said in July that it was planning at least two more test flights of the spacecraft before starting regular commercial operations in 2022.
According to chief executive Michael Colglazier, one of those flights will train four Italian astronauts.
© Thomson Reuters 2021