Finally, Virgin Galactic successfully launched its new spaceship on Mojave Desert of California on Thursday. This is the first ever powered flight of the company since its original spaceship had a fatal crash in 2014.
According to the company, the VSS Unity’s flight is the major stepping stone, which plans to carry out tourists on the suborbital hops in space’ lower reach where the Earth can be visible, as well as the stars beyond. Also, Virgin Galactic had said that this milestone is marking the fresh start of the Unity’s final stage flight test program that can take place after the fatal crash of 2014’s test flight, killed two of the pilots and then set back its projects.
The accident in 2014 had happened when one of the pilots had an early “feathers” unlocking and then the spaceship breaks apart. The Virgin Galactic had noted that Unity has its safety mechanism that results from the accident. Burt Rutan, an aerospace designer is the one developed the concept of the “feathers.”
On its preceding test flights, the VSS Unity had either released in order to glide back to the land without having its engine lightened, or remained attached to the Virgin Mother Ship, which is the expertly designed jet carrying it into space.
Now, they are back on track and successfully launched the skyrocket as expected. The pilots Dave Mackay and Mark Stucky were in the Unity’s cockpit since it takes off from at 8:02 AM at Mojave Air and Space Port attached to the VMS Eve and then climb to the 14,173 altitude meters over Sierra, Nevada. The Unity is released and after several seconds, its engine is ignited. It steeply climbed up and went supersonic. As Unity’s engine shuts down, it is able to coast upward to over 25,000 meters.
Mackay and Stucky had raised the twin-tail booms of the spacecraft to up to sixty-degree angle to a fuselage so it can slow down and get a stable position at the descent’s first stage. Then, reduced it back to its conventional configuration that is lower in the atmosphere. They described the runway landing as smooth and the tail booms are highly regarded as “feathers” due to its functionality like a lightweight feather of a shuttlecock used in badminton sports.
Virgin Galactic is envisioning a fleet that operates from the Spaceport America in the New Mexico. Also, they are planning to offer flights that can be benefited by the satellite deployment and research.