Virgin Galactic returns to space

The space tourism industry has picked up momentum in recent months as SpaceX and Blue Origin strive to be able to schedule their flight as early as possible. Virgin Galactic, the company owned by billionaire Richard Branson (Virgin Group), has also just regained its color after a two-year absence.

His third test flight on Saturday went smoothly. A success that Richard Branson proudly shared in a short video on his Twitter account. It must be said that the company’s plans began to raise questions. Last December, the first attempt at this long-awaited test flight was canceled for technical reasons.

At this point, Virgin Galactic preferred to postpone testing if the next flight was expected to include “all of the original test objectives from the previous test flight, including assessing the customer’s cabin elements and testing the spacecraft’s live broadcast capability.” the ground and the evaluation of horizontal stabilizers and improved flight controls during the boost phase of the flight ”.

Despite the need to please its shareholders (Virgin Galactic is listed on the stock exchange), the space race no longer had the right to failure and rush. In 2014, the company lost one of its test pilots in a crash that caused the shuttle to explode in midair. A grief that remains engraved despite a waiting list of around 600 customers waiting to make their dream come true.

Amazing footage of @ VirginGalactic’s third spaceflight # ​​UNITY21

– Richard Branson (@richardbranson) May 22, 2021

55 miles over New Mexico

Virgin Galactic returned to space from the airport at the company’s SpacePort America complex on Saturday. “VSS Unity reached a speed of Mach 3 (three times as fast as the Sound Editor’s note) after being freed from the mother ship VMS Eve, and reached space at an altitude of 88 kilometers before smoothly hitting a runway at Spaceport America slipped. ” Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

Limitless beauty. # ​​Unity21 @virgingalactic

– Richard Branson (@richardbranson) May 23, 2021

“The crew had an exceptional view of the brilliant, blue-lined curvature of the earth facing the darkness of space,” added the company. “White Sands National Park in New Mexico sparkled brilliantly below. Her experience today gives future Virgin Galactic astronaut customers a glimpse of what to expect. “With a list of high net worth wealthy clients who paid more than $ 200,000 to reserve their seats, Virgin Galactic has raised no less than $ 80 million.

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