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VSS Unity conducts test flight that nearly reaches space

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The SpaceShip Company and Virgin Galactic conducted a test flight of VSS Unity on Thursday, July 26, 2018. Photo Credit: Matthew Kuhns / SpaceFlight Insider

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity touches down after a profitable check flight on Thursday, July 26, 2018. Photograph Credit score: Matthew Kuhns / SpaceFlight Insider

Virgin Galactic’s program designed to kick off house tourism has simply reached one other milestone with a flight that nearly reached the sting of house. 

The VSS Unity’s flight on Thursday, Dec. 13 got here near punching by way of what is taken into account to be the beginning of “house.” The Karman Line is the area of the environment thought of to be the sting of “house.” at an altitude of 62 miles (100 km). The duo on board got here achingly near surpassing that threshold. Nonetheless, the corporate’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, supplied what might be a rebuttal on this established border when he tweeted: Area is Virgin territory. Watching VSS Unity attain house was one of many proudest moments of my life

The mission’s success was clear from a tweet posted by BransonI couldn’t be extra pleased with our groups, who collectively have opened a brand new chapter of house exploration

Reaching an altitude of 51 miles (82.68 km), the duo on board was in a position to expertise a number of moments of weightlessness. 

The mission was piloted by Mark “Forger” Stucky and C.J Sturckow (as famous on NASASpaceFlight, Sturckow is not any stranger to house having traveled there 4 instances on board NASA’s retired fleet of shuttles). Sturckow has logged some 51 days on orbit as a member of the crews of STS-88, STS-105, STS-117 and STS-128.

A lot of you’ll know the way vital the dream of house journey is to me personally. Ever since I watched the Moon landings as a toddler I’ve appeared as much as the skies with marvel. We began Virgin almost 50 years in the past dreaming massive and loving a problem, Branson stated by way of a company-issued launch. “As we speak, as I stood amongst a very exceptional group of individuals with our eyes on the celebrities, we noticed our greatest dream and our hardest problem up to now fulfilled. It was an indescribable feeling: pleasure, reduction, exhilaration and anticipation for what’s but to come back.”

VSS Unity was carried aloft beneath the odd-looking White Knight Two plane at 7:11 PT (15:11 GMT) from California’s Mojave Air and Area Port. On high of its history-making flight it additionally carried 4 NASA-funded know-how experiments on board. As of this writing, NASA is unable to ship astronauts by itself to sub-orbit not to mention to orbit. The house company has lacked that functionality for greater than seven years.

“As we speak, for the primary time in historical past, a crewed spaceship, constructed to hold non-public passengers, reached house. As we speak we accomplished our first income producing flight and our pilots earned their Business Astronaut Wings. As we speak, we’ve proven that Virgin Galactic actually can open house to vary the world for good. We’ll now push on with the remaining portion of our flight check program, which can see the rocket motor burn for longer and VSS Unity fly nonetheless quicker and better in the direction of giving hundreds of personal astronauts an expertise which gives a brand new, planetary perspective to our relationship with the Earth and the cosmos. It is a momentous day and I couldn’t be extra pleased with our groups who collectively have opened a brand new chapter of house exploration.”

Video courtesy: The Solar




Jason Rhian spent a number of years honing his abilities with internships at NASA, the Nationwide Area Society and different organizations. He has offered content material for retailers akin to: Aviation Week & Area Know-how, Area.com, The Mars Society and Universe As we speak.

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