“SpaceShipTwo, welcome back to space.”
Virgin Galactic’s commercial space-worthy aircraft, named Unity, left Earth yesterday morning before successfully gliding back down to California’s Mojave desert.
Pilots Dave Mackay and Mike Masucci flew the Virgin Galactic fifth-supersonic powered test flight with a working passenger aboard, chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses.
After taking off from a runway attached to the WhiteKnightTwo mothership, Unity then detached at 45,000 feet before its rocket motor ignited and the craft blasted into space.
There, at 55.85 miles above Earth, the crew viewed the black realms of space and experienced weightlessness.
The company have now released footage of the incredible feat of engineering:
SpaceShipTwo, welcome back to space 🚀 🌎 pic.twitter.com/5pboTQeRjI
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) February 23, 2019
If the company’s continued test flights all prove successful, customers will pay $250,000 for a trip to space, which from takeoff to landing will last about 90 minutes.
Passengers will experience a few minutes of weightless before the spacecraft begins its descent.
The company also shared a photo of Beth’s face as she looked at Earth from Space:
The face you make when you look back on Earth from space. Our Chief Astronaut Instructor, Beth Moses, is the 571st person to fly to space and the first woman to fly on board a commercial spaceship. pic.twitter.com/lBhK34Burk
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) February 22, 2019
They proudly announced Moses is the 571st person to fly to space and the first woman to fly on board a commercial spaceship.
The spacecraft carried more weight than it ever has before, near the loads expected if it had a full load of passengers on board, the company added.
Virgin Galactic CEO, Richard Branson, says he’ll be flying to space on Unity this summer, all things well with the craft and the future tests.
The latest achievement took place less than a month after two Virgin Galactic pilots got their wings after they guided the VSS Unity to just over 51 miles above Earth in December.
It was the first time the company reached space.
Meanwhile, another aeronautic space tourism company called Blue Origin, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, plans to begin test flights with people aboard its New Shepard spacecraft later this year.
Looks like we’ve got another Space Race on our hands, people.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.