Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

First images of Virgin Galactic's successful space plane test flight

Richard Branson is'a little jealous of Musk's launch Richard Branson is'a little jealous of Musk's launch
| 07 April, 2018, 00:54

"Space Florida congratulates Richard Branson and the Virgin Galactic team on its return to flight, the first in almost four years, from the Mojave Air and Space Port today".

Finally, Virgin Galactic intends to carry tourists on suborbital jumps into the decreased reaches of space, where they could view Earth far below and also the stars beyond. The successful test flight is the result of over 2 years of extensive ground and atmospheric testing.

Sir Richard Branson says commercial space travel is "tantalisingly close" after a successful rocket test. The successful test comes nearly four years after a fatal accident on an earlier version of the spaceship (See: Virgin Galactic space craft crashes in California, killing pilot during test flight).

The VMS Eve crew consisted of pilots Mike "Sooch" Masucci and Nicola Pecile, who piloted the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft which ferried VSS Unity test article aloft.

Thursday's test flight was the highest and fastest for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo program, eclipsing marks set by the VSS Enterprise's three powered test flights before the ship crashed.

VSS Unity fired its rocket engine for 30 seconds yesterday, reaching a maximum altitude of 84,271 feet (25,686 meters) - that's almost 16 miles (25 kilometers) - and a top speed of Mach 1.87, Virgin Galactic representatives said.


A ticket to ride the space plane now sells for $250,000.

This was the first time Unity has achieved supersonic flight.

With all the upgrades and safety mechanisms added to the VSS Unity spaceship, it is considered more robust and heavier than its predecessor, the VSS Enterprise.

Unity was previously flown on test flights in which it remained attached to the mother ship and others in which it was released to glide without lighting the rocket.

The last time Virgin Galactic turned on a spacecraft's motors during flight, it ended in a tragic crash. "While we celebrate that achievement, the team remains focused on the challenging tasks which still lie ahead", the company stated in a release issued after the flight.

Operational flights by Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo fleet will occur from Spaceport America near the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Data review to come, then on to the next flight.

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