Virgin Galactic’s Unity 22 mission has successfully flown billionaire Richard Branson on his first flight into space.
Congratulations to Virgin Galactic and Branson. This is the culmination of a long journey that started with Xprize and Peter Diamandis and Burt Rutan and Spaceship One.
On October 4, 2004, XPRIZE captured the world’s attention by awarding the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE—the largest prize in history—to Mojave Aerospace Ventures for their SpaceShipOne. Led by famed aerospace designer Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites, with financial backing from Paul Allen, the team’s winning technology was licensed by Richard Branson to create Virgin Galactic.
We will see what Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin can achieve with sub-orbital tourism.
SpaceX will have orbital space tourism via Inspriration 4 and SpaceX is moving on with fully reusable orbital rockets.
Still, Virgin Galactic had a great success and hopefully they will follow with more developments.
The 22nd test flight of VSS Unity and the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin, including the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson. The crew fulfilled a number of test objectives 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.
Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, said: “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.”
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.
SOURCES – Virgin Galactic, CNET, Xprize
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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