Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship completes first free flight

Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship, the VSS Unity, has successfully completed its first free flight.

This test marks the first time a vehicle built by Virgin Galactic’s sister organisation The Spaceship Company has flown under its own control.

VSS Unity was piloted by Mark Stucky and Dave Mackay, with pilots Mike Masucci and Todd Ericsson as well as flight test engineer Dustin Mosher in WhiteKnightTwo.

“Over the course of the 1 hour 20 minute flight – particularly the 10 minutes of free flight for SpaceShipTwo – our pilots, mission controllers, and ground crew collected valuable data,” said Virgin Galactic.

“We have not yet reached the rocket-powered phase of the test flight programme – first we need to gather test flight data to confirm our analyses and calculations.”

For this first gliding test flight, VSS Unity was flying light and slow, achieving a maximum speed of approximately Mach 0.6 while gliding home from an altitude of 50,000 feet.

Virgin Galactic said it is looking forward to getting back into the skies as soon as the engineers say they are ready to do so.

Now read: Virgin Galactic gets Spaceship licence

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Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship completes first free flight