Virgin Galactic Launched a Second Successful Space Flight. Now, the $350,000 Tickets Are Going Fast

Forget that European vacation, space is calling.

By Mary Grady 06/05/2019

In February, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (christened VSS Unity) successfully completed its fifth test flight and second trip into space. After many setbacks, the company in December successfully flew VSS Unity into space for the first time, reaching an altitude of 82.7 kilometres —past the border between Earth’s atmosphere and space, which NASA defines as 80.4 kilometres high. The flight marked a milestone in Virgin Galactic’s efforts to take paying passengers on space flights to altitudes where they will experience weightlessness, see the curvature of Earth, and stare at a pitch-black sky full of stars. A crowd that included the firm’s founder Richard Branson, a number of its employees, and the press watched from the company’s base in Mojave, Calif., as the spaceship, attached to mother ship Eve, launched from the runway. The two ships flew together to 40,000 feet, whereupon SpaceShipTwo was released. The crew then activated the rocket engine for 60 seconds, propelling the ship to a speed of Mach 2.9 (about 3500 km/h) and powering its climb beyond the atmosphere. Shortly after passing the 80-kilometre mark, the crew turned the spacecraft back to Mojave and glided it down to the runway.


Virgin Galactic’s founder Richard Branson celebrates the company’s out-of-this-world achievement.
Virgin Galactic

The mission’s two pilots, Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturckow, were awarded Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Astronaut Wings at a Washington, D.C., ceremony in February. The spaceship carried four space science and technology experiments from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, making this Virgin Galactic’s first revenue-generating launch. It was also the first human spaceflight from U.S. soil since the final space shuttle mission in 2011, and the first time that a crewed vehicle built for commercial passenger service has reached space.


VSS Unity/VMS Eve take off for a push past the atmosphere in December.
Virgin Galactic

The fifth test flight, and now second into space, blasted off with three crew members, one of whom was Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, Beth Moses, the first woman to travel to space aboard a commercial craft. This mission went farther and faster—89.91 kilometres, reaching a speed of Mach 3.04 (around 3753.79km/h).


The view from an altitude of 90km.
Virgin Galactic

Two more crafts are being built to help meet the anticipated passenger demand. And while all of the $350,000 seats are currently filled, those interested in booking a flight can sign up for updates on new offerings by registering with the company’s website.

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Rolls-Royce Unveil Ultra-Fast Electric Plane With Record 482KM/H Goal

The aerospace company believes the ACCEL will be able to hit speeds in excess of 480km/h next year.

By Bryan Hood

22/12/2019

This New Jet Is Quieter Than a Ferrari GT3 Speeding on a Highway

The Longitude’s cabin averaged whisper-quiet sound levels of 67 decibels.

By Danielle Cutler

19/12/2019

The First All-Electric Commercial Aeroplane Takes Flight in Canada

Powered by a 560kW electric engine, the plane completed its first successful flight.

By Bryan Hood

12/12/2019

How ExecuJet Get the Little Things Right

Luxaviation is making travel personal.

By Sponsored Content

05/12/2019

Qantas Just Became the Third Major Airline to Commit to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050

The airlines joins Air France and British Airways in the commitment.

By Bryan Hood

13/11/2019

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected