Virgin Galactic has put a recent setback behind it to reach space for just the third time in its history, and the first time since moving to its new Spaceport America base in New Mexico last year. The company’s successful test flight over the weekend marked another step forward in its plans to launch tourists into space, while also carrying large research payloads for NASA.
Virgin Galactic originally planned to reach space for the third time last December, after successful attempts in 2018 and 2019. The company’s twin-fuselage VMS Eve mothership carried the VSS Unity spacecraft into orbit and released him as planned, although his rocket failed. fire, which brought the mission to a quick but safe end.
After investigating the cause of the failure, the company originally planned to make another attempt in February, although this was later pushed back to May as it completed a maintenance review of the VMS Eve mothership. The company also launched a third-generation spacecraft in March, called VSS Imagine, the first glide tests of which are expected to take place this summer in the United States.
The successful space flight took place on Saturday, marking the very first space flight from the state of New Mexico. The VMS Eve lifted the space plane into the air and released it at altitude, and the VSS Unity then ignited its rocket engines and made its way to an altitude of 55.45 miles (90 km), the two vehicles returning to Earth for a safe landing. .
“Fifteen years ago, New Mexico embarked on a journey to create the world’s first commercial spaceport,” said Sir Richard Branson. “Today we launched the first manned space flight from this same location, marking a milestone for Virgin Galactic and New Mexico. I am proud of the team for their hard work and grateful to the people of New Mexico who have been unwavering in their commitment to commercial spaceflight from day one. Their conviction and support made today’s historic achievement possible. “
The flight offered Virgin Galactic a chance to test improved stabilization systems, flight controls and technology to reduce electromagnetic noise. But the spacecraft also took with it research experiments for NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which aims to rapidly test and develop new space exploration technologies. The company is currently reviewing flight data and will inspect the spacecraft and mothership before their next sortie.
“Today’s flight showcased the inherent elegance and safety of our space flight system, while marking a major step forward for Virgin Galactic and manned spaceflight in New Mexico,” says Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic. adventurous company, and I’m incredibly proud of our talented team who made the dream of private space travel a reality. We will immediately begin processing the data obtained from this successful test flight and look forward to sharing news on our planned next step. “
Source: Virgin orbit