Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo space plane successfully separated from the carrier aircraft on May 25 and made a test flight. Four employees of the company got out of the atmosphere on it. Now everyone is waiting for the start of tourist flights.
Virgin Galactic successfully tested a space plane
Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic has successfully confirmed that its SpaceShipTwo space plane named VSS Unity can safely carry passengers into orbit. This is very good news against the background of reports that his other brainchild, Virgin Orbit, is divided between three competitors after the bankruptcy procedure.
The Unity 24 mission was a test. In total, eight employees of the company participated in it. Mike Masucci and C.J. Sturckow piloted the VSS Unity. The company’s chief instructor Beth Moses, astronaut instructor Luke Mays, as well as mission specialists Christopher Huie and Jamila Gilbert were with them as passengers.
Two more pilots flew the VMS Eve carrier aircraft. At 05:15 p.m. GMT+3, it took off from the Spaceport America with a space plane attached to it and began to gain altitude. Upon reaching 15 thousand meters, the latter separated, turned on its own engine and made a suborbital flight.
Beginning of tourist flights
In general, the flight did not last long. Passengers managed to feel a few minutes of weightlessness. The maximum flight speed was Mach 2.94, and the maximum altitude was 87.2 km. The space plane returned to ground at 06:37 p.m. GMT+3.
Overall, this was its fifth flight. Whether the space is reached at the same time is a debatable question. According to the international classification, its border runs along the “Karman line”, which is located at an altitude of 100 km. However, according to the classification of the American Air Force, this border is located at an altitude of only 80 km.
Anyway, now Virgin Galactic is ready to start commercial flights, which they have been promising their customers for a very long time. The queue of those who are waiting for a flight into space is several hundred people. It is expected that VSS Unity will make the first flight with tourists in June, and then they will occur monthly.
However, gradually the company plans to sell more tickets and make flights more frequent. Now their cost is 450 thousand dollars. Virgin Galactic expects that in 2026 their space planes will carry out one tourist flight per day.
According to www.space.com
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