Virgin Galactic’s spaceship VSS Unity (SpaceShipTwo commercial space plane) landed in the New Mexico desert on Friday. This is the first glide flight from Spaceport America as the company planning to provide commercial operations.
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides congratulated the team behind this successful flight and hitting the milestone, especially during such a pandemic period.
The company shares some pictures of the craft on air and after landing. As per their officials, this is a vital milestone in the flight test program.
After years of testing, Virgin Galactic is close to starting actual commercial operations at its futuristic terminal and hangar present in southern New Mexico. Although the company has not set any date for the first commercial flights it is expected to do so in 2020.
The agenda behind this company is to provide customers a supersonic thrill rides to the lower reaches of space to experience them a few minutes of weightlessness and a scenic view of the Earth below. The plane will reach an altitude of at least 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) from the ground before the spaceship starts the landing procedure.
The first test flight provided the opportunity to test all the components and essential things required to fly both carrier aircraft and spaceship in glide. Officials will now analyze data gathered during the test flight exercise so they correct the issues and can prepare for the next test flight.
To get more familiar with the New Mexico airspace the pilots give the spaceship a glide speed of Mach 0.70 and performed a series of maneuvers to check various handling and aerodynamics.
Virgin Galactic went public and listed on the New York Stock Exchange last fall. Company officials are working on the release of their first-quarter results.
The spacecraft will carry six passengers at a time in commercial operations. More than 600 customers around the world interested in this and have put down deposits for flights.
As per the report, the initial seats were sold at $250,000 apiece. You want to register interest online then you have to pay a fully refundable deposit of $1,000. After this successful test flight, more potential customers will be interested in space tourism.
For years, we’ve been listening the space tourism is going to happen this year. Other companies like Blue Origin (founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos), SpaceX (founded by billionaire Elon Musk), Boeing, etc are on the same race.