Virgin Galactic’s newly minted astronauts are beyond thrilled following their journey to space on the company’s first fully crewed spaceflight.
Sunday (July 11), Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson joined crewmates Sirisha Bandla and Colin Bennett in earning their astronaut wings following the successful launch and landing of the company’s Unity 22 suborbital mission. Beth Moses, who also flew aboard the craft, had already achieved astronaut status on a previous flight. The whole crew shared their excitement after returning to Earth, popping Champagne bottles, with Branson even lifting Bandla up onto his shoulders.
“It was just magical,” Branson said during the ceremony following the flight, which was Virgin Galactic’s fourth rocket-powered spaceflight. “I feel I’m still in space,” he added later during a post-launch news conference.
“Welcome to the dawn of a new space age,” he added.