Virgin Galactic completes its first commercial flight into space | Science and technology news


Virgin Galactic has completed its first commercial flight into space.

Galactic 01 carried a crew of six on its roughly 90-minute flight to the edge of space.

A rocket was launched from an airplane at about 50,000 feet, its engine ignited, and sent it flying in a near-vertical climb to about 50 miles above the earth.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The launch comes a month after Sir Richard’s Virgin Orbit announced it was ceasing operations months after the mission failed in the UK.

The crew included three members from Italy – two colonels from the Italian Air Force and an aerospace engineer from Italy’s National Research Council – along with their Virgin Galactic instructor and the two pilots of the spacecraft.

The flight from Spaceport America in New Mexico was on a research mission and the crew was scheduled to conduct 13 scientific research experiments.

Galactic 01 launches into space
The crew of Galactic 01
The crew of Galactic 01

After attaining a state of zero gravity, passengers unveiled an Italian flag to mark the centenary of the Italian Air Force before returning to their seats before returning to Earth.

The VSS Unity spacecraft landed safely back on the runway around 4:45pm UK time on Thursday, as Virgin Galactic tweeted: “Welcome back to Earth #Galactic01! Our pilots, crew and spacecraft landed smoothly.”

While Galactic 01 is being announced as Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight, this time it won’t carry tourists – but an upcoming flight in August will carry paying customers.

Virgin Galactic said its first commercial spaceflight ushered in a new era of government-funded, commercial, human-supervised research missions.

Italian crew members of Galactic 01 unfurl an Italian flag during the zero-gravity portion of the flight
Italian crew members of Galactic 01 unfurl an Italian flag during the zero-gravity portion of the flight

The company has been working for years to send paying passengers on short space trips, finally receiving federal government approval in 2021 and completing its final test battle in May.

The spaceflight collected data on man-portable payloads and sensors, as well as autonomous payloads mounted in the cabin.

Continue reading:
Astronomers make rare Star Wars-style planet discoveries
Tests begin on a 3D-printed rocket engine that could power launches in the UK

It will start a month later Sir Richards Virgin Orbit has announced that it is ceasing operations after a failure of the mission in Great Britain.

If all goes well, Virgin Galactic says it will start flying again in early August, with monthly flights thereafter.

The company said it already had a backlog of about 800 customers and charged between $250,000 and $450,000 per seat.

Source link

Leave a Comment