On 11 July, Virgin Galactic announced that VSS Unity successfully reached space, completing the rocket-powered spaceflight. Today’s flight was the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity and the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin.
The crew fulfilled a number of test objectives related to the cabin and customer experience, including evaluating the commercial customer cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training programme at Spaceport America.
VSS Unity achieved a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mothership, VMS Eve. The vehicle reached space, at an altitude of 53.5 miles, before gliding smoothly to a runway landing at Spaceport America.
The mission specialists in the cabin were Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor; Colin Bennett, Lead Flight Operations Engineer; Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations; and founder, Sir Richard Branson. The VSS Unity pilots were Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, while Kelly Latimer and CJ Sturckow piloted VMS Eve.