A two-level Virgin Galactic plane with a SpaceShipTwo spacecraft departed from the Mojave space and the space travel hub at 7 local time, located 145 kilometers from Los Angeles (USA) and successfully landed.
The flight was successful
The Virgin Galactic Rocket test is an introduction to the new era of civilian space flights. It happened thanks to British billionaire Richard Branson.
The SpaceShipTwo ship with two pilots was lifted by the aircraft at a height of 13.7 kilometers. After disembarking from the plane above the Mojave Desert in California, the pilots launched the rocket engine of the ship. After reaching the altitude of 82 kilometers, where pilots Mark Stucky and Frederick Sturckow experienced the state of weightlessness and could observe the curvature of the earth, the ship began to return to the atmosphere with a speed of 2.5 machs and quickly landed successfully.
Hundreds of spectators watched the start, Branson was one of them. At the moment the plane crossed 82 kilometers above the ground, the billionaire would like to respond by nailing five and embracing the viewers.
80 kilometers are recognized by Virgin Galactic, NASA and the US Air Force as the outdoor space. The exact boundary between the airspace and space is not there. Conventionally, it is assumed that the world is 100 km above the Earth's surface, but physicists give a range of 80-100 kilometers. It is a dispute about whether flights organized by the company can actually be called cosmic.
"Today we have shown that Virgin Galactic can open up space for the whole world," said Branson. He added that he is counting on the first commercial flights with passengers that take place in March 2019.
Tears of joy
For the Virgin Galactic flight today, four years after the original SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight, one of the pilots suffered serious injuries and the other died.
– We had tears in our eyes, real tears. Today, however, these were tears of joy – told Branson reporters during the Thursday conference.
– We had a few challenges ahead, and now we are ready to be within reach of the height of the space. This is a great achievement for our team – said Wednesday a press conference in Mojave by George Whitesides, Director General of Virgin Galactic.
There were two pilots on board, four NASA test loads and a mannequin named Annie as a passenger.
An expensive trip
To take part in Virgin Galactic space flights, a deposit must be made. So far, more than 700 people have done it. Among them is actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber. The 90-minute flight is expected to cost $ 250,000.
SpaceShipTwo looks back at Spaceship Earth 🌎 pic.twitter.com/ynr31mKzzf
– Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) December 13, 2018