To infinity and beyond! Virgin Galactic flight success
09 April 2018
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity has successfully completed its first supersonic, rocket-powered flight! Watch the video here:
Unity is the first vehicle to be fully built for Virgin Galactic by its sister manufacturing organisation, The Spaceship Company. It’s already had two years of ground and atmospheric testing, utilising data gathered from the tests of its predecessor, the VSS Enterprise.
The VSS Unity took off attached to the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, both climbing to around 46,500ft over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Shortly after, Unity’s hybrid rocket motor came alive and the spaceship was aimed upwards of 80° and managed to accelerate to Mach 1.87 during the 30 seconds of rocket burn.
On its decent the pilots utilised its innovative design feature, raising the spaceship’s tail booms to a 60° angle to the fuselage into a ‘feathered’ configuration. This design feature is key to a reliable and repeatable re-entry capability for a winged vehicle.
The successful flight gathered data on motor and vehicle performance which is now being reviewed.
Video courtesy of Virgin Galactic