Richard Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic, sent a team of six people, including three tourists, on a quick trip to the lower atmosphere on Friday. This was their fourth suborbital spaceflight, following their pattern of launching one mission per month at a fast pace.aboard.
At noon EDT, British advertising executive Trevor Beattie, American science popularizer Ron Rosano, and Namira Salim, the first Pakistani to travel to space, launched into space from Spaceport America in New Mexico. They were joined by two Virgin Galactic pilots and the company’s chief astronaut trainer on the VSS Unity spaceplane.
The spacecraft was attached to the wing of Virgin’s twin-fuselage Eve carrier jet and the two vehicles ascended to an altitude of approximately 44,000 feet. After completing final checks, the spaceplane was released to fly independently. As it separated, commander Kelly Latimer and co-pilot Rick Sturckow, a previous space shuttle commander, activated the spacecraft’s hybrid rocket motor to initiate the ascent into space.
Ascending at a steep angle and reaching a velocity of almost three times the speed of sound, the rocket engine ceased operation approximately two minutes after being activated. From that moment, while following a path in the shape of a curve, the three individuals onboard, along with Virgin astronaut trainer Beth Moses, were able to unharness themselves and hover inside the cabin as Unity curved over and started descending towards the ground.
tweeted before launch.
Beattie brought along several items with him, including a check for $2.23 that was signed by Orville Wright in 1923.
In 1903, Orville Wright achieved a monumental milestone in human history by successfully completing the first powered flight. Beattie shared this accomplishment by stating, “In 1923, Wright wrote a check for $2.23.” In 2023, I will proudly carry Orville’s check into Space, where it will float weightlessly alongside me as a symbol of his legacy. The check, carefully folded into a paper plane, will be a testament to Wright’s incredible achievement.
The fourth commercial flight of Virgin was completed, making it their fifth flight in the span of four and a half months. According to officials, there are around 800 people waiting for the opportunity to fly on the company’s spaceplane.
Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has offered commercial suborbital flights
on board the New Shepard spaceship
Since 2021, the company has been temporarily suspended due to efforts to resolve an issue with the booster that caused an unmanned research mission to fail last year.
The Federal Aviation Administration has finished evaluating the incident and representatives from the company have stated that flights are anticipated to resume in the near future.