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Virgin Galactic launches Richard Branson to edge of space: How to watch live

The VSS Unity during the Unity 21 mission to the edge of space.


Virgin Galactic

Richard Branson, the 70-year-old billionaire behind space tourism company Virgin Galactic, is no stranger to making headlines — he once drove a tank down Fifth Avenue to promote a new brand of cola. His latest and, perhaps, most extreme venture is to get to space aboard the company’s rocket, known as VSS Unity. 

On Sunday, Branson will launch into the stratosphere (and a little beyond) on his edge-of-spaceship and here’s how you can tune in and watch it unfold. 

It’s been a long road for Virgin Galactic. Seventeen years since the dream of taking people to space first came together, Branson’s SpaceShipTwo vehicle is ready to take its owner high above the clouds. The mission, dubbed Unity 22, will be available to stream via the CNET Highlights YouTube channel. You can watch on YouTube or below, right here.

Coverage will begin at 6 a.m. PT (9 a.m. ET) on Sunday, July 11.

What is that in some other timezones?

  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 10 a.m. 
  • London, UK: 2 p.m.
  • Johannesburg, South Africa: 3 p.m.
  • Moscow, Russia: 4 p.m.
  • Dubai, UAE: 5 p.m.
  • New Delhi, India: 5:30 p.m.
  • Beijing, China: 9 p.m.
  • Tokyo, Japan: 10 p.m.
  • Sydney, Australia: 11 p.m. 

The flight will take around 90 minutes, with the twin fuselage WhiteKnightTwo plane carrying Branson’s space ferry (VSS Unity) into the clouds. From there, Unity’s rocket engine will ignite, seeing it soar to a total height of around 90 kilometers where the crew will experience weightlessness in microgravity. It’s set to be a particularly historic moment for the ambitions of the ultra-rich to reach the edge of space.

Following the mission, a press conference is scheduled to occur at around 8:30 a.m. PT (11:30 p.m. ET).

CNET Science writer Eric Mack will be on the ground at Virgin’s Spaceport America during the lead up to the mission. We’ll have coverage of Branson’s ascent to space, and you can also get updates and some behind-the-scenes details by following Eric on Twitter and Instagram @EricCMack. And Branson isn’t the only billionaire heading to space this month. Ex-Amazon head honcho Jeff Bezos will be riding the first crewed Blue Origin rocket to space on July 20.

Check back with CNET on Sunday or sign up the Science newsletter above to get all the space billionaire content you need.

Update July 10: Removed reference to the Mojave desert, because it was incorrect. Forgive my terrible geography.



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