Virgin Galactic Announces New Research Flight Contract with Repeat Customer

International Institute for Astronautical Sciences to Expand Research Conducted on Galactic 05 Flight

Second-Time Virgin Galactic Astronaut Kellie Gerardi to Lead IIAS Crew Aboard Next Generation Delta Spaceship

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic” or the “Company”) today announced a new  contract with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (“IIAS”) to fly three research astronauts  as part of a future crew aboard the Company’s Delta Class spaceship.

It will be the second research mission that IIAS has conducted with Virgin Galactic. It follows ‘Galactic 05’  in November 2023, which tested novel healthcare technologies and examined how fluids behaved in low  gravity to help inform designs for future medical technologies and life-support systems. The mission is  anticipated to take place within the first year of Delta commercial service, which remains on track to commence in 2026.

“We were thrilled with the results from our fluid cell experiment on ‘Galactic 05’, which demonstrated our  ability to accurately predict the behavior of fluid in a container in a weightless environment. We’ll be  expanding on that research for our next mission, and I’ll be working to demonstrate our ability to control  the behavior of the liquid as well,” said astronaut and IIAS Director of Human Spaceflight Operations Kellie  Gerardi. “The quality and repeatability of the microgravity environment provided by Virgin Galactic’s  system is truly game-changing and the potential for a ‘fly, fix, fly’ approach opens the door to many exciting  possibilities for IIAS to make discoveries that benefit future explorers.” 

The IIAS astronaut crew expected to participate in the research mission includes:
● Kellie Gerardi, a bioastronautics researcher and IIAS Director of Human Spaceflight Operations from  the U.S. Gerardi previously flew as a payload specialist on the ‘Galactic 05’ research mission.
● Dr. Shawna Pandya, a physician, aquanaut, bioastronautics researcher, and Director of IIAS’s Space Medicine Group, from Canada.
● Dr. Norah Patten, an aeronautical engineer and bioastronautics researcher from Ireland.

Full biographies are available here. More information on Virgin Galactic’s research capabilities is here.

The mission is designed to enable IIAS to introduce new research while also expanding upon the results  from ‘Galactic 05’, during which astronaut Kellie Gerardi was able to successfully validate a fluid behavior  theory within the high-quality microgravity conditions available through Virgin Galactic’s unique flight  system. The IIAS crew plans to fly additional fluid cells, with payload enhancements including upgrades to camera quality and accelerometer measurements.

“We’re excited to continue our partnership with IIAS in an expanded capacity,” said Virgin Galactic Vice  President of Government Affairs and Research Operations, Sirisha Bandla. “Our suborbital science lab is  revolutionizing the field of microgravity research by offering routine, reliable access to space – and it’s  great to see institutions like IIAS begin to build iterative and innovative campaigns around suborbital space-based research.”

Virgin Galactic’s Delta Class spaceships can be configured to fly either six mission specialists, or four  specialists and two additional payload racks, depending on customer needs. More information will be  shared regarding further mission specialists and payloads joining the IIAS crew on this spaceflight as the manifest expands.

Each Delta spaceship is currently estimated to be capable of flying up to eight space missions per month,  which is twelve times the monthly capacity of the Company’s original spaceship, VSS Unity. The new  spaceship fleet is anticipated to dramatically increase repeatable and reliable access to the microgravity environment.