Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity Makes Successful First Glide Flight

vss-unity-first-glide-flight

Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship has made a successful first glide flight, a key step after a deadly crash of its predecessor two years ago, the spaceflight company said on Saturday.

The new SpaceShipTwo, dubbed VSS Unity, was hoisted aloft by carrier airplane WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve from the Mojave Air & Space Port in California, the company said on Twitter.

Released from the mothership, VSS Unity flew home to Earth on its own, according to the company owned by British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson.

“VSS Unity has landed. Vehicle and crew are back safe and sound after a successful first glide test flight,” Virgin Galactic tweeted at #SpaceShipTwo.

Unity’s weight was kept light for the first flight, Virgin Galactic said. Its success now opens a phase of tougher flight testing before the spacecraft’s hybrid rocket motor will be fired in flight.

The company’s efforts faced a major setback in October 2014, when the first version of the SpaceShipTwo disintegrated over California’s Mojave Desert.

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SOURCE: Phys.org, AFP