● Virgin Galactic sees significant development for its space tourism system.
● News of successful flight catches the attention of investors.
● Tests for commercial space flights to be conducted next year.
Virgin Galactic’s rocket-powered plane completed its first successful flight from New Mexico in more than two years. The shuttle manned by two pilots ascended from its new Spaceport America. The event was live-streamed by NASA as it showed the spaceship accelerating upward and confirmed a landing later via a radar. With this flight, the company takes a significant step towards its space tourism system.
Virgin Galactic announced its reusable spaceplane VSS Unity which is designed to accommodate up to eight people and take them to space. Upon its successful flight, the VSS Unity caught the eyes of investors as they sent shares soaring more than 14%.
The Virgin Galactic had originally planned to reach space in December following two successful attempts in 2018 and 2019. However, the mission came to a swift end after the company’s dual-fuselage VMS Eve mothership carrying the VSS Unity spaceplane failed to fire. After a detailed investigation, the mission was set for February but was further pushed to May as it had to complete a maintenance review of the VMS Eve mothership.
Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson was elated after the successful flight as it brought an end to a roughly 15-year-old venture. Branson has also hinted towards the tests of commercial space flights which could begin next year. So far, Virgin Galactic has already sold tickets for $200,000 to $250,000 to more than 600 people and expects to see more once the ticket sales reopen.