The company Virgin Galactic conducted the first successful test flight of the new manned suborbital spaceplane VSS Unity since the terrible tragedy that occurred with the other apparatus in 2014. New spaceplane has reached supersonic speed, and then safely landed at the air and space port in Mojave, where he made his rise through the carrier aircraft Eve.
The carrier raised the spaceplane to a height of 14 173 m above the desert, after which the apparatus was disconnected and launched its jet engine. The duration of the burn engine VSS Unity was only 30 seconds. During this time, the spaceplane operated by two pilots, was able to reach speeds of Mach 1.87 (2231 km/h).
“After stopping a jet engine Unity continued to climb until he reached the threshold of 25 685 m, and then began a gradual decline,” commented chief Executive officer of the company Virgin Galactic George Whitesides.
Shortly after Unity has made a safe landing, followed by carrier aircraft Eve. Unity flight to jet propulsion was the fifth in the history of the SpaceShipTwo class, and the first since the crash of the Spaceship Enterprise on 31 October 2014, in which one pilot died and the second suffered serious injuries.
The company said that the spaceplane has passed a thorough and multiple inspections before was carried out its first manned launch.
Original class spaceplane SpaceShipTwo was built by the American aircraft manufacturer Scaled Composites. In 2016, Virgin Galactic has submitted SpaceShipTwo updated design that formed the basis for the VSS Unity and built by the Spaceship Company company. It is a subsidiary of the Virgin Group. The new unit has tried to provide all the details, to avoid any possibility of a repetition of the tragedy 2014. In addition to VSS Unity the company has also built two additional apparatus which may also be part of the suborbital Virgin Galactic fleet in the near future will carry tourists to the borders of outer space.
In November 2017 Virgin Galactic entrepreneur and billionaire British Richard Branson has sold about 900 tickets the first space tourists. Everyone had to pay for a ticket at $ 250,000.
In commercial flying, when reaching a certain height, the spaceplane will be launched into space to an altitude of about 109 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. After a few minutes of flight the apparatus will gradually get back as the plane.
Most recently, Branson’s company has received significant investment support from Saudi Arabia, invested in Virgin Galactic, the Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit of one billion dollars. By the time the official announcement, Branson said that Virgin Galactic is close to the target.
“We are only a few months, about the time when Virgin Galactic will begin to send people into space, and Virgin Orbit – launch earth satellites”, — said Branson.