Virgin Galactic Live Updates: Branson and Crew Reach Space, Return in Runway Landing

2 weeks ago 4

Virgin Galactic launched laminitis Richard Branson on with 3 different unit members connected the company's 4th spaceflight trial to date.

Congratulations from astronauts and more

Congratulatory posts to Virgin Galactic came successful crossed societal media aft the formation landed, from NASA officials to astronauts.

VSS Unity lands connected the Spaceport America runway successful New Mexico

The spacecraft returned successful a glide to onshore connected the runway successful New Mexico, completing the company's 4th spaceflight to date.

Branson and unit scope space

VSS Unity reached space, supra 80 kilometers, achieving a decades-long imagination of billionaire laminitis Sir Richard Branson.

Virgin Galactic

Release and launch

Release! VSS Unity separates from the bearer craft and past ignites its engine, firing the spacecraft into a climb. The spacecraft volition request to scope much than 3 times the velocity of dependable to marque it to space.

Virgin Galactic

10 minutes to release

CNBC's Morgan Brennan connected the crushed astatine Spaceport America successful New Mexico posts that determination are present little than 10 minutes to spell until launch.

Less than 15 minutes to launch

Virgin Galactic

Successful spaceflight would spot astir humans successful abstraction simultaneously

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist astatine the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, shared a information astir the fig of radical successful abstraction if the Unity22 ngo is successful. There are 10 radical successful abstraction earlier Virgin Galactic launches, connected committee the International Space Station and the Chinese abstraction station.

If today's formation reaches abstraction successfully it volition acceptable a record: determination volition beryllium 16 humans successful abstraction simultaneously for the archetypal clip ever. It volition besides acceptable a grounds for the fig of Britons successful abstraction astatine erstwhile (3).

— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) July 11, 2021

Aircraft and spacecraft supra 40,000 feet altitude

Virgin Galactic

VMS Eve and VSS Unity are present abvove 40,000 feet altitude, with merchandise expected adjacent 45,000 feet.

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Unity22 goals

In summation to flying Branson, today's spaceflight featured different goals, arsenic Virgin Galactic is inactive investigating its spacecraft system, aiming to statesman commercialized work successful aboriginal 2022. The 4 unit members are investigating the spacecraft's compartment and the grooming programme Virgin Galactic has developed, and Bandla volition beryllium performing a plant-based experimentation for the University of Florida.

Billionaires reason implicit what is existent outer abstraction

Branson and Jeff Bezos are launching themselves into abstraction lone weeks apart. But their abstraction planes are traveling antithetic distances, which has triggered an statement implicit what is existent outer space.

Branson's Virgin Galactic flies supra 80 kilometers, astir 262,000 feet, which is the tallness that the U.S. sees arsenic the bound of space. Bezos' Blue Origin flies supra 100 kilometers, astir 328,000 feet, an altitude cognize arsenic the Kármán Line.

"There's nary benignant of existent planetary agreement" connected the bound of space, according to astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell. But McDowell has argued that 80 kilometers is the clearest bound of space.

Mission Unity22 takes off, with motorboat expected successful nether an hour

Aircraft VMS Eve has taken disconnected from the Spaceport America runway, carrying spacecraft VSS Unity underneath. The bearer craft volition bring Unity up to much than 40,000 feet altitude, wherever it volition merchandise and past occurrence its engine. 

Virgin Galactic

The stakes

 CEO George Whitesides, laminitis  Richard Branson and Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic leaders successful beforehand of the New York Stock Exchange, from left: CEO George Whitesides, laminitis Richard Branson and Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya.

There are aggregate things astatine involvement for Sunday's spaceflight.

First and foremost is the information of the crew, arsenic Virgin Galactic's spacecraft volition beryllium traveling astatine much than 3 times the velocity of dependable to scope the borderline of space. It is manually guided by 2 Virgin Galactic pilots, alternatively than autonomously controlled similar different spacecraft.

Virgin Galactic is simply a publicly-traded company, truthful the banal often swings importantly earlier and aft events specified arsenic a spaceflight. Shares determination successful a speculative mode arsenic Virgin Galactic has yet to statesman generating important revenue.

Bezos wishes Branson well

Jeff Bezos posted connected Instagram earlier the flight, saying helium is wishing Richard Branson "and the full squad a palmy and harmless formation tomorrow. Best of luck!"

Boarding and preparing for takeoff

The Virgin Galactic unit rode successful a acceptable of Land Rovers and drove retired the spacecraft VSS Unity and bearer craft VMS Eve connected the runway earlier boarding and preparing to takeoff from the runway of Spaceport America. The bearer craft volition alert the spacecraft steadily up to its merchandise altitude, expected astir 50 minutes aft takeoff.

Inside Spaceport America

A presumption of the Virgin Galactic unit walking out, from committee subordinate Adam Bain:

Crew locomotion out

The Virgin Galactic unit walked retired of Spaceport America to committee spacecraft VSS Unity. The unit for Sunday's formation is pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci and passengers Sir Richard Branson, main astronaut trainer Beth Moses, pb operations technologist Colin Bennett, and VP of authorities affairs Sirisha Bandla.

Elon Musk sees Branson off

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