Virgin Galactic is now accepting reservations for flights on its new space plane. The company plans to have a fleet of six spaceships by the end of 2019, with the first launches expected in 2020.
Richard Branson launched to space aboard Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane. The flight was broadcast live on the internet, so everyone could watch.
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, took off for a sub-orbital test trip to space on Sunday morning, demonstrating that his company’s air-launched spaceplane is ready for customers who can afford the ultimate thrill ride.
At 8:40 a.m. local time, Virgin’s twin-fuselage carrier aircraft took out from the company’s Spaceport America launch facility in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, with the VSS Unity rocket-powered spaceplane attached under its wing (10:40 a.m. EDT).
The mothership VMS Eve steadily rose away into a height of approximately 45,000 feet, with a swarm of reporters and a worldwide audience watching on YouTube and via Virgin’s social media platforms.
On July 11, 2021, the Virgin Galactic carrier aircraft, carrying the VSS Unity spaceplane Unity, took out from Spaceport America in Truth and Consequences, New Mexico, with a crew of six, including Virgin Galactic founder and billionaire Richard Branson. Getty Images/AFP/PATRICK T. FALLON
Unity was dropped like a bomb high over the New Mexico desert about 45 minutes after liftoff, after a last round of safety checks.
Unity’s hybrid rocket motor was launched seconds later by pilots David Mackay and Michael Masucci, both veterans of previous test flights. As the spaceship rocketed forward and pitched up into a near-vertical trajectory, the crew crashed back in their seats.
The rocket engine ran for approximately a minute, propelling the ship to about three times the speed of sound before shutting down, burning rubberized solid propellant with liquid nitrous gas.
During a previous test flight, the VSS Unity rocketed out of the visible atmosphere. Virgin Galactic is a company that specializes in space travel
Branson and his crew may then unbuckle and float about the cabin, taking in the breathtaking views as Unity rises to a targeted height of little over 50 miles. Then it’d start its lengthy descent back to Earth.
Virgin Galactic astronaut trainer Beth Moses, flight engineer Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla, the company’s vice president of government relations and research operations, are among the passengers, in addition to Branson and the two pilots.
On July 11, 2021, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is pictured onboard the VSS Unity as it approaches the edge of space. Virgin Galactic is a company that specializes in space travel
While it was the rocketplane’s 22nd test flight, including three piloted flights to orbit, it was the first with a six-person crew including Branson himself, who hoped to beat commercial space competitor Jeff Bezos into space by nine days.
The Amazon founder and owner of Virgin rival Blue Origin intends to launch his own New Shepard spaceship on an up-and-down sub-orbital journey on July 20 with his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and the winner of an online auction who has yet to be named.
Both firms want to take people on trips to the edge of space and back, and both are already conducting test flights in preparation for commercial operations. Branson successfully surprised Bezos in the continuing fight for market share, booking Sunday’s trip just ahead of the Amazon founder’s, which had previously been publicized.
While Bezos wished Branson well on Instagram on Saturday, Elon Musk, the creator of SpaceX, traveled to New Mexico to be there for the trip.
“Today is going to be a big day. It’s great to start the day with a buddy “Branson sent out a tweet. “I’m feeling fantastic, eager, and prepared.”
Unity’s wing and tail fins are intended to rotate upward 60 degrees once out of the atmosphere, giving the spaceplane the aerodynamics of a badminton shuttlecock and guaranteeing a belly-down re-entry, according to an idea pioneered by aviation designer Burt Rutan.
The flight plan calls for converting Unity into a glider by twisting the wing upward soon after the rocket engine shuts down and leaving it in the “feathered” configuration until the ship is back in the visible atmosphere.
The pilots would next navigate the spaceplane through a spiral descent, setting up for a 90-minute landing on Spaceport America’s 12,000-foot-long runway.
Space, according to NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the United States Space Force, starts at an altitude of 50 miles. As a consequence, Branson, Bennett, and Bandla anticipated earning FAA “astronaut wings” soon after landing, a designation previously acquired by Mackay, Masucci, and Moses after earlier test flights.
Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are racing to the moon at 04:45 a.m.
The unity 22 launch is the first commercial space flight. Richard Branson has launched to space aboard Virgin Galactic rocket plane.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I watch Branson space launch?
You can watch the live feed of the Branson space launch on NASA TV.
Is Branson space flight televised?
No, Branson space flight is not televised.
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