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Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity Nails Its First Space Flight in Two Years – Gizmodo

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VSS Unity in space over New Mexico.

VSS Unity in space over New Mexico.
Photo: Virgin Galactic

Space tourism really is the hot topic among billionaires nowadays, and some of them are getting closer to making it a reality. On Saturday, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic made room for itself in the race, successfully launching its spaceplane to space after more than two years. The flight is a step forward for the company on its journey to develop its space tourism system.

Virgin Galactic announced on Saturday that the VSS Unity, its reusable spaceplane designed to carry eight people into space, had completed its third crewed flight. The company said that VSS Unity had reached a speed three times the speed of sound after being released by its mothership, the VMS Eve, a custom-built aircraft that carries the VSS Unity to an altitude of around 50,000 feet before releasing it, at which point the spaceplane’s rocket engine fires up and takes it to space.

VSS Unity, flown by pilots CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay, reached space at an altitude of 55.45 miles (89.23 kilometers), according to a news statement. It then returned to Earth and eventually the runway at its Spaceport America launch facility in New Mexico. This was Virgin Galactic’s first spaceflight from Spaceport America.

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