Next test flight for the Spaceship Two: Virgin Galactics carried out another test flight with its spaceship in the US state of New Mexico. Richard Branson’s space company has also partnered with the National Aeronautics And Space Administration (NASA).
The Whiteknight Two VMS Eve carrier plane had ascended to around 15.5 kilometers on Thursday morning with the Spaceship Two VSS Unity and released VSS Unity there. VSS Unity then glided back to Earth and landed on Spaceport America.
The spacecraft reached a speed of Mach 0.85 when gliding. The two pilots performed a series of maneuvers to collect data on the performance and handling of the Spaceship Two at the higher flight speed. It reached Mach 0.7 on the first flight from Spaceport America.
“That was an important test, which means that we can – depending on the evaluation of the data – prepare the aircraft for motorized flight. Our focus for this year remains on ensuring that the aircraft and our operations for the long-term, regular commercial space flights are prepared “, said Virgin Galactic chief George Whitesides
On June 22, the company entered into a space act agreement with NASA. Virgin Galactic will then participate in the commercial program for the International Space Station (ISS). The space company plans to search for prospects for commercial flights to the ISS and take care of the mission.
NASA announced last year that it would also accept space tourist visits to the station in the future. The seven space tourists to date had flown to the ISS with the Russian state space organization Roskosmos. These included US entrepreneur Dennis Tito, Canoncial founder Mark Shuttleworth and game developer Richard Garriott aka Lord British. Charles Simonyi, founder of Microsoft Research, even went there twice.