Virgin Galactic’s fourth rocket-powered spaceflight was its first to fly with a full crew in the cabin, including the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson.
“I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space. We are at the vanguard of a new space age. As Virgin’s founder, I was honoured to test the incredible customer experience as part of this remarkable crew of mission specialists and now astronauts. I can’t wait to share this experience with aspiring astronauts around the world.”
Sir Richard Branson
The spacecraft, VSS Unity, achieved a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mothership, VMS Eve. The vehicle reached space, at an altitude of 53.5 miles, before gliding smoothly to a runway landing at Spaceport America.
The crew completed a number of tests related to the cabin and customer experience, including evaluating the commercial customer cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research, and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training program at Spaceport America.
“Today is a landmark achievement for the Company and a historic moment for the new commercial space industry. With each successful mission we are paving the way for the next generation of astronauts. I want to thank our talented team, including our pilots and crew, whose dedication and commitment made today possible. They are helping open the door for greater access to space – so it can be for the many and not just for the few.”
Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic
The flight gave a glimpse of the journey Virgin Galactic passengers can expect when it launches commercial services following the completion of its test flight program.
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