Virgin Galactic Just Completed Second Supersonic Test Flight of VSS Unity – Here’s Why It’s Super-Cool

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Richard Branson joined Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company teams on May 29 to witness VSS Unity’s second successful, supersonic, rocket powered test flight.

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traveling is closer than you think 

As Nexter.org reported earlier this week, seems that space race is a new trend among rich and powerful. Not only Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos want to be the first in tourism, Richard Branson – the founder and CEO of the Virgin Group – also had strong ambitions.

For years, Branson has sought to make tourism a reality through Virgin Galactic, which would take passengers into suborbit using his SpaceShipTwo class of rocket planes.

Despite Virgin Galactic suffered a number of setbacks in recent years, the VSS Unity (part of the Virgin Galactic fleet) recently conducted its second powered test flight from the Mojave Air and Port on Tuesday, May 29th. While this test is years behind schedule, it marks a significant step towards Branson’s realization of flying customers to .

The only people aboard Unity during the second test flight were pilots Dave Mackay and Mark “Forger” Stucky. But the vehicle could begin flying paying customers as early as this year if the test campaign continues to go well, Virgin Galactic representatives have said.

virgin-galactic-second-flight-pics

Source: Quinn Tucker

“It was great to see our beautiful spaceship back in the air and to share the moment with the talented team who are taking us, step by step, to ” Branson said. “Seeing Unity soar upwards at supersonic speeds is inspiring and absolutely breathtaking. We are getting ever closer to realizing our goals. Congratulations to the whole team!”

This was the second time that the VSS Unity flew since 2014, when the VSS Enterprise suffered a terrible crash while attempting to land, killing one pilot and injuring the other. The first propulsive test took place two months ago after several additional tests were performed on the craft. And with that last success, Virgin Galactic moved ahead with its second powered test earlier this week.

New milestone of success

According to the Virgin Atlantic official site, the main goal of the flight was to expand the understanding of the spaceship’s supersonic handling characteristics and control system’s performance with vehicle parameters that were closer to the ultimate commercial configuration.

“This involved shifting the vehicle’s center of gravity rearward via the addition of passenger seats and related equipment. The rocket motor burned for the planned 31 seconds and propelled Unity to a speed of Mach 1.9 and an altitude of 114,500 ft,” it was said.

Tickets to ride SpaceShipTwo currently sell for $250,000 apiece. Passengers will experience several minutes of weightlessness and get to see the curvature of Earth against the blackness of during their suborbital ride.

With the latest test flight complete, the company’s teams will be reviewing the data from this flight and making preparations for the next flight.


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Richard Branson joined Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company teams on May 29 to witness VSS Unity’s second successful, supersonic, rocket powered test flight.
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