Virgin Galactic Holdings, the space company of entrepreneur Richard Branson, made a test flight into space for the first time in more than two years on Saturday. This is a critical step towards business operations.
The test flight of the VSS Unity spacecraft departed from New Mexico on Saturday. One said, “ After separating from the VMS Eve parent ship, VSS Unity reached three times the speed of sound (Mach 3) and reached space at an altitude of 55.45 miles (89 km) before drifting back to the landing site in Spaceport America. ” statement From the company.
Virgin Galactic plans to monetize space tourism, and take its passengers to the edge of the atmosphere, the start of space. The spaceship was first brought to a high altitude by a large jet plane (VMS Eve) and launched from there.
However, the company has faced setbacks in the past two years. The previous test flight dates back to February 2019.
According to New York author Nicholas Schmidle’s book, “ Test Gods, ” who has been following the company for several years, two years ago, engineers discovered damage to the spacecraft’s hull from pressure from some of the ventilation holes that had been accidentally clogged. . In the past year, the Coronavirus pandemic has also caused delays in the program.
Last December, Virgin Galactic faced yet another setback when VSS Unity failed to ignite its engine after being separated from VMS Eve. The rig was able to return on a glide flight without damage. A new attempt failed in February after electrical interference was detected in the spacecraft’s electronic system.
Branson and CEO Michael Colglazier attended the Saturday flight from the Virgin Galactic Operations Center at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Colglazier described the test as successful and said all goals had been met. It was also the first time that a new, more accurate flight control system was used. The only unexpected event, Kollglazier said, was when Branson began spraying champagne afterward.