Virgin Galactic's First Spaceflight In Nearly Two Years Is A Success

Virgin Galactic's First Spaceflight In Nearly Two Years Is A Success
virgin galactic spacecraft © Virgin Galactic virgin galactic spacecraft Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space tourism company, just completed a manned test flight according to its Twitter account. The flight, called "Unity 25" consisted of Virgin Galactic's jet-powered, dual-fuselage "Mothership" the VMS Eve, carrying the VSS Unity spaceship up to an altitude of 44,500 feet and releasing it. The VSS Unity then made a powered flight into space, reaching a top speed of Mach 2.94. At 12:37 pm EST, VSS Unity safely landed at Virgin's spaceport in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic's most recent flight prior to today was nearly two years ago in June of 2021. According to a press release from Virgin Galactic, the successful test flight officially marks the beginning of the company's foray into commercial space flight with the first flight named "Galactic 01" launching in June of this year. This successful flight test comes mere days after NASA awarded Jeff Bezos-owned private spaceflight company Blue Origin with a multi-billion dollar contract.

Private Spaceflight, The Final Frontier

VSS Unity © Virgin Galactic VSS Unity The entire mission had a crew of eight people. According to Virgin Galactic, the VMS Eve mothership was commanded by Jameel Janjua and piloted by Nicola Pecile. Both have thousands of hours behind the flight stick of dozens of aircraft including fighter jets like the F-16. The VSS Unity spacecraft was commanded by Mike Masucci who has experience flying not only a number of fighter jets but also the Cold War-Era U2 spy plane. The pilot was CJ Sturckow who, in addition to other jets, has also flown the Space Shuttle. It's safe to say the pilots and commanders of both craft had plenty of experience.  In case you were wondering about what a flight on a Virgin Galactic vessel might cost. Seats aboard the craft retail for a total of $450,000, roughly one thousand times what an average plane ticket may cost flying out of LAX would cost. Virgin Galactic now competes with the aforementioned Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX in newly emerging the private spaceflight sphere. Read this next: SpaceX Vs. Blue Origin: Who Is Winning And Why?

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