Aerospace company Virgin Galactic has said that its VSS Unity is undergoing final preparations for its first spaceflight from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Spaceport America is Virgin Galactic’s operational base and the space mission is scheduled to take place this fall.

Virgin Galactic has planned to conduct a full rehearsal of the spaceship propellant loading procedures.

This will involve a full tanking test, loading high-pressure helium and nitrous oxide into their respective spaceship tanks on board VSS Unity.

During the pre-flight preparations, the company will also put VSS Unity pilots and teams in mission control through a practice run.

VSS Unity will carry two pilots and several research payloads. It will be attached to the carrier aircraft VMS Eve.

Virgin Galactic chief pilot Dave Mackay said: “VMS Eve has the ability to test pilot proficiency by simulating the glide and approach-to-land phase of flight for SpaceShipTwo pilots.

“The cockpit structure of Eve is almost identical to that of Unity: the same pilot seats and windows, as well as very similar flight controls and instruments.

“This, coupled with the fact that with Eve’s landing gear down, and one set of speed brakes out, it descends on the same flight path angle as SpaceShipTwo, means that the crew can practice the identical approach and landing pattern to the one they will fly in Unity, with much of the same information displays, and the same view out the window.”

In May, Virgin Galactic conducted the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America.