Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully reaches space

Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully reaches space

Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully reaches space

It landed minutes later.

"But let's not forget that space is also hard and we daily recognise the commitment and sacrifice that has been so consistently shown by our awesome Mojave family".

As the test flights continue and Virgin Galactic gets closer to bringing space tourists on board, the waiting list for its flights grows.

Keep an eye on the skies, as Branson & Co. gear up to finally take their first trip to space. That's about a mile and a half past what the USA government recognizes as the edge of space. "There is no guarantee that everything will work perfectly first time and, like all programs seeking to take bold steps, we will inevitably have times when things don't go as planned".

Virgin's twin-fuselage carrier airplane which held the SpaceShipTwo passenger spacecraft took off soon after 7am local time from the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 90 miles (145 km) north of Los Angeles.

The spaceship ignited its rocket engine and it quickly hurtled upward and out of sight of viewers on the ground.

The rocket-propelled plane then re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at 2.9 times the speed of sound and landing safely on a runway in California's Mojave Desert.

The FAA plans to formally honor the pilots of Thursday's flight by awarding them astronaut wings at a ceremony in Washington next year.

Virgin Galactic’s First Spaceflight on December 13th 2018
Virgin Galactic’s First Spaceflight on December 13th 2018

"At the basic level, this flight will aim to fly higher and faster, " the company said in a statement.

Based on the success of today's flight, Virgin Galactic has stated that it will move forward with full-duration, or 60-second, motor burns.

In addition to the test pilots, a flight test dummy and four research payloads from NASA's Flight Opportunities Program were on board to help simulate the weight distribution of having passengers on board.

The US space agency paid Virgin Galactic to fly four space science and technology experiments on the VSS Unity, "making this Virgin Galactic's first revenue generating flight", the company added.

A tourism spaceship soared to the edge of space Thursday, the first US commercial flight to achieve the feat since the USA shuttle program ended in 2011. "Today we have shown Virgin Galactic can open space to the world", he said.

The endeavor began in 2004 when Branson announced the founding of Virgin Galactic in the heady days after the flights of SpaceShipOne, the first privately financed manned spacecraft that made three flights into space.

Virgin Galactic says about 600 people have reserved tickets, priced between $200,000 and $250,000, to ride aboard its supersonic plane. No word if Virgin CEO Richard Branson attached a sign to the ship saying, "Kiss my thrusters, Bezos and Musk!" The prize was created to kickstart private development of rocket ships that would make spaceflight available to the public.

One pilot lost his life and another was seriously injured in 2014 after the SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight.

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