Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By Laverne Osborne

Tourism rocket ship reaches space on test flight

Tourism rocket ship reaches space on test flight

Reaching an altitude of 51 miles (82.68 km), the duo on board was able to experience a few moments of weightlessness. It landed minutes later.

"We made it to space!"

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is preparing to take the long-awaited step of trying to fly its tourism rocket ship to the edge of space. This was all made possible through Richard Branson's - Virgin Galactic, a company that is striving to make it possible for anyone to become an astronaut.

Virgin Galactic considers that altitude to be the threshold of space because it's defined that way by the Air Force and other US agencies, although others have long considered the boundary to be higher. But the long-held view is the boundary is 62 miles.

Virgin Galactic officials said Thursday's spaceflight represents an incredible opportunity, not just for the company, but for the future in general. "This is a test flight", said George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, "with all of the novelty and excitement and risk that goes along with a real test flight". He wouldn't estimate when commercial passenger trips might begin. "Once we've gotten through that, we could start thinking about doing commercial flights", he said, not giving a specific number of test flights planned beyond "not a huge number".

SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, took off in the early morning sunshine at the Mojave test centre in California on Thursday in front of hundreds of employees and their family members. With two test pilots at the controls, the spacecraft quickly hurtled upward and out of sight from viewers on the ground. It burned for a total of 60 seconds and drove the vehicle directly upward at almost three times the speed of sound.

"Overall the goal of this flight is to fly higher and faster than previous flights", said a statement from Virgin Galactic.

Thumbs up up and away Richard Branson with pilots Rick CJ Sturckow and Mark Stucky
Thumbs up up and away Richard Branson with pilots Rick CJ Sturckow and Mark Stucky

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. "When you are in the test flight program of a space company you can never be completely 100 percent sure". Today, we have shown that Virgin Galactic really can open space to change the world for good ...

So far, more than 600 people have signed up, paying as much as $250,000. The prize was created to kickstart private development of rocket ships that would make spaceflight available to the public.

But there were significant setbacks.

The company also plans to restart marketing of the rides, which had been halted in the aftermath of the 2014 crash that killed a test pilot.

Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity is released from the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft during a gliding test for SpaceShipTwo near Mojave, Calif., on Jan.11, 2018.

It should be noted that Virgin is using one measure of where space begins - but it's not the only one. Also, SpaceX founder Elon Musk recently announced plans to take a wealthy Japanese businessman and his friends on a trip around the moon.

Google+ Is Shutting Down Three Months Early After New Privacy Bug
The company realized that it still has a place for enterprises, so it will remain a product for those users. Google discovered the privacy-invading glitch following its routine testing procedures.

Like this: