A new step towards space tourism has been taken. Virgin Galactic successfully made its first rocket flight from New Mexico to the edge of space in a manned shuttle. On board two pilots who, accelerating up to three times the speed of sound, reached an altitude of just over 89 kilometers above sea level, before returning to glide through the atmosphere. Great satisfaction for the British billionaire Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, according to whom this is an incredible step towards tourist flights in space which, according to his estimates, could begin as early as next year.
The flight was successful
The test took place on Saturday with departure from the Spaceport America spaceport in New Mexico. The unit used was VSS Unity and not the newer VSS Imagine. As already seen in the past, the large VMS Eve airplane was used which brought the spacecraft to about 13 km above sea level in order to take advantage of the height and lower density of the atmosphere. At that point there was the release of VSS Unity which had to rely on its rocket engine for the remainder of the journey. According to the company, a speed of Mach 3 was reached. The maximum altitude was just over 89 km (thus not exceeding the Kármán Line conventionally placed at 100 km). Everything went according to plan and the VSS Unity spacecraft was able to glide and return to where it started.