Virgin Galactic last week conducted the first powered test of any of their vehicles since the fatal crash of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise on Oct. 31, 2014, when the ship broke apart in a tragic accident killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury and injuring pilot Peter Siebold.
This new video posted on YouTube on April 5 shows VSS Unity drop as planned from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft at an altitude of 50,000 feet, roughly 20 miles north of the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The ship, piloted by David Mackay and Mark Stucky, was pushed to a maximum altitude of 84,271 feet and a top speed of Mach 1.87 before completing a safe touchdown at the spaceport’s runway.
The video also shows dramatic shots of VSS Unity with the curvature of Earth below.
The flight was the 12th overall for Unity, which was officially unveiled in February 2016. The space plane had previously performed seven unpowered glide flights and four captive carry tests, in which it remained attached to the mother ship.
The six-passenger, two-pilot SpaceShipTwo vehicle is designed to carry people and scientific payloads on brief jaunts to suborbital space. Customers who take the trip will experience several minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of Earth against the blackness of space.
A ticket to ride the space plane currently sells for $250,000.
Video Courtesy: https://www.youtube.com/VirginGalactic