The plane took off from the runway at 7. Virgin Galactic has just reached one of the biggest milestones in its history — its first test flight to space, a crucial step in ushering in the age of space tourism. On board were pilots Mark Stucky and Frederick Sturckow.
That's above the mile 80 km boundary that the United States Air Force uses when handing out astronaut wings, but below the more famous "Karman Line" at 62 miles km up. Today's flight began at just past 10 a. Eve dropped Unity at an altitude of about 50, feet 15, metersat which point pilot Mark Stucky and co-pilot Frederick C.
Spaceport America is no longer just a shiny shell of hope that space tourism would one day launch from this remote spot in the New Mexico desert. The once-empty hangar that anchors the taxpayer-financed launch and landing facility has been transformed into a custom-tailored headquarters where Virgin Galactic will run its commercial flight operations. Two levels within the spaceport include mission control, a preparation area for pilots and a lounge for paying customers and their friends and families, with each element of the fit and finish paying homage to either the desert landscape that surrounds the futuristic outpost or the promise of traveling to the edge of space.
Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company within the Virgin Group. It is developing commercial spacecraft and aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists and suborbital launches for space science missions. Virgin Galactic plans to provide orbital human spaceflights as well. Virgin Galactic's founder, Richard Bransonhad initially suggested that he hoped to see a maiden flight by the end of but this date has been delayed on a number of occasions, most seriously by the October in-flight loss of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise.
Virgin Galactic has been increasing their cadence this year as they prepare to start flying paying customers onboard their SpaceShipTwo spaceplane, named VSS Unity. Today marked the highest flight test this year, reaching an apogee of about 52 kmfeet. At about a.
The WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane took off soon after 8 a. It released the SpaceShipTwo passenger craft at an altitude of about 44, feet 13, meters and then the spaceship was catapulted to 55 miles The reusable SpaceShipTwo craft previously flew to an altitude of more than 51 miles in Decembermarking the first U.
The tragedy left the future in doubt for the space tourism company and derailed its plans to begin commercial flights to the edge of space. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.
SIR Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has reached space for the first time since the company's fiery test crash that killed one of its pilots. The space tourism firm's SpaceShipTwo Unity plane flew higher than ever before in a test that marked a huge step toward Sir Richard's goal of firing paying customers into space next year. It successfully separated from its mother ship around 45 minutes after liftoff and engaged its rocket thrusters, reaching speeds of Mach 2.
The only problem was the wind, which had chosen this day to break its usual routine. Out in the desert, mornings are typically calm, with winds building during the day. Anxious technicians watched windsocks scattered around the aerodrome, which dispiritingly refused to agree on where the wind was coming from or how fast it was going.
It was developed by Scaled Composites from to as the first stage of Tier 1ba two-stage to suborbital-space crewed launch system. With an " open architecture " [ citation needed ] design and explicit plans for multi-purpose use, the aircraft could also operate as a zero-g aircraft for passenger training or microgravity science flights, handle missions in high-altitude testing more generally, or be used to launch payloads other than SpaceShipTwo. Virgin Galactic has ordered two White Knight Two vehicles. In NovemberThe Spaceship Company had announced that it planned to build at least three additional White Knight Two aircraft and an additional five SpaceShipTwo rocket planes, the aircraft to be built by Virgin after the initial prototypes of each craft are built by Scaled Composites.