Photos: Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket plane VSS Unity completes another successful test in desert
MOJAVE >>Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket plane VSS Unity soared over the Mojave Desert on its third powered test flight.
The company said the craft ascended Thursday at more than twice the speed of sound and reached an altitude of 32.3 miles (52 kilometers).
The spacecraft was taken aloft by the carrier aircraft VMS Eve and released at high altitude before the two test pilots ignited the rocket motor and pulled Unity into a near-vertical climb.The craft then glided to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port.
The test flights are aimed at bringing the craft into commercial service, which would take place at Spaceport America, near Las Cruces.
Virgin Galactic is based in New Mexico, but its satellite spinoff, Virgin Orbit, is located in Long Beach.
Space came one step closer today. First footage is in, check it out! #SpaceShipTwo pic.twitter.com/yTQdXVHEVE
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) July 26, 2018
Earlier this week, Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson told Bloomberg his Virgin Galactic spaceflight company is just about ready to launch a space mission.
“Before the end of the year I hope to be sitting in a Virgin Galactic spaceship, going to space,” Branson said in the new episode of “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations.”