Virgin Galactic achieved a successful test flight of its rocket-powered spaceplane on Saturday, May 22, that saw the vehicle and its two pilots reach an altitude of 55.45 miles. The third powered flight of its VSS Unity spaceplane takes the team another step closer toward the launch of space tourism services for high-paying customers. Saturday's mission started with Virgin Galactic's VMS Eve mothership carrying VSS Unity and its two pilots — CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay — to an altitude of around 50,000 feet. Eve then released Unity, after which the spaceplane's rocket engine fired up to blast it toward the edge of space. A short while later, Unity glided back to Earth for a safe landing at Virgin Galactic's spaceport in New Mexico. The team released dramatic footage of the successful mission, which Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson described as "an important milestone" for the company. It also released a video (below) showing the view from the ground as Unity's rocket powered up seconds after falling away from Eve. 60 seconds of rocket burn, straight into space. #UNITY21 #VirginGalactic pic.twitter.com/yc87hWRLxc — Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) May 22, 2021 Following the successful test mission, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said… Read full this story
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