Virgin Galactic’s Second SpaceShipTwo Makes Second Powered Test Flight
Virgin Galactic is drawing closing to its plans to embark on space tourism and research flights. The company made a test flight on its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane on May 29. The Spaceship named VSS Unity is the second spaceship built for the company.
The spaceship launched attached to the company’s WhiteKnightTwo carrier at 11:40 am Eastern time. The spaceship lifted off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The spacecraft separated from the carrier about an hour later. After the separation, the spacecraft fired its motor for 31 seconds.
This test is the second test on the spaceship; the first test was on April 5, and that test flight was also successful. It is a relief that the second SpaceShipTwo is performing well considering the accident the first one encountered. The first SpaceShipTwo met an accident during its fourth powered test in October 2014 killing its copilot and injuring the pilot.
The founder of the company, Richard Branson, was happy about the development. He talked about the excitement he felt when he saw the spaceship soaring in the sky. He also acknowledged the contributions of the numerous staff who made it possible.
The firm has kept many people waiting for a decade now. Virgin Galactic sold airline tickets to people who are willing to trip to space. Each ticket costs US$250,000, and about 700 people have already signed up for the ticket. Richard Branson mentioned that he is one of the first people who would embark on the trip when the time comes. He is hoping that the company will begin its space tourism by the end of this year. The very first flights with humans onboard will be a test flight.
Talking of space tourism, Virgin Galactic is not the only space firm focusing on it. Blue Origin is only focusing on that, and they are making headway. The company is planning on sending humans to space on its New Shepard rocket. The rocket is in its final test stages after embarking on its eighth test flight on April 29 this year.
Even though the two companies are seeking to embark on space tourism, the two are using entirely different approaches. Blue Origin may have a lot of people who are waiting to fly, but the company has not sold any ticket yet. They have not even announced a ticket price yet. According to them, they want to have everything ready before they start selling tickets.