It’s the Edge of Space for Virgin Galactic
On May 22, Virgin Galactic’s first human spaceflight successfully launched into space from Spaceport America, New Mexico. Mothership, VMS Eve, the carrier and launch platform for the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, carried VSS Unity to 44,000 feet in the air and then released it as the spaceship began a rocket powered flight to the edge of space.
It took about an hour for the VMS Eve with the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo to reach its destined altitude. Kelly Latimer and Michael Masucci piloted the mothership while CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay handled the spaceship.
According to Virgin Galactic’s twitter feed, approximately ten minutes from release, VSS Unity switched to its own battery power and performed all required checks. It waited in launch configuration as the pilots readied its motor system and clearance was sent from Mission Control. VSS Unity then separated from VMS Eve and the rocket motor ignited. It reached space at an altitude of 55.45 miles before descending and landing back at Spaceport America. Sturckow and Mackay viewed the bright blue curvature of Earth against the blackness of space.
The historic flight carried technology experiments for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.
Congratulations Virgin Galactic! The company is now one step closer in sending privately paying customers to suborbital space for some out-of-this-world views.
Buckle up! On July 28, Virgin Galactic is showing the world what the inside of their SpaceShipTwo Unity spacecraft looks like via a livestream on their YouTube channel.
This is the first test launch from Branson’s Virgin Galactic company since February of 2019, and follows a string of delays, cancellations, and aborts. What’s going on?