Later tragedy, multiple delays and a lot of rivalry, Virgin Galactic has completed its first fully planted space flight. Mission Unity 22 saw founder Richard Branson join Beth Moses, Colin Bennett and Sirishi Bandli aboard SpaceShipTwo as they tested the spacecraft and performed experiments. Branson, as you can guess, was there both for prestige and to assess the “experience of a private astronaut.”
The flight involved part of the controversy. Blue Origin, whose the first space flight is only a few days away, there is A virgin about garbage arguing that SpaceShipTwo would not actually enter space – the spacecraft reached an altitude of “only” 53.4 miles during Unity 22, where the Kármán line (formal delimitation of space) is 62 miles away. If you’re focused on technical details, Jeff Bezos will be the first corporate tycoon to cross that symbolic barrier.
Whether you agree or not, flying is an important achievement for Virgin. It is SpaceShipTwo’s first complete test to pave the way for commercial space flights if and when beginning of 2022. Branson’s clothing has generated money on test flights, but it won’t fulfill its business ambitions until tourists finally take advantage of the tickets and feel the space.
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