Skip to main content

Virgin Galactic conducted its fourth powered test flight and first space flight

One closer step to Space Tourism

December 13th, 2018, Virgin Galactic conducted its fourth powered test flight and first space flight of its commercial SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity. Please find reporting materials below for news coverage and multimedia reporting.

History has been made and a long-anticipated dream realised in Mojave, CA, today as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, landed from her maiden spaceflight to cheers from Richard Branson and the teams from Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.

Not only is this the first human spaceflight to be launched from American soil since the final Space Shuttle mission in 2011, but the very first time that a crewed vehicle built for commercial, passenger service, has reached space.

The historic achievement has been recognised by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) who announced today that early next year they will present pilots Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturckow with FAA Commercial Astronaut Wings at a ceremony in Washington DC.  CJ, as a four-time Space Shuttle pilot, will become the only person to have been awarded NASA and FAA wings.

Today’s accomplishment has also been recognised by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, which flew four space science and technology experiments on VSS Unity, making this Virgin Galactic’s first revenue generating flight.


The spectacular spaceflight, which was witnessed by a large crowd of staff and their families, as well as special guests and media, saw a 60 second planned rocket motor burn which propelled VSS Unity to almost three times the speed of sound and to an apogee of 51.4 miles.

As VSS Unity coasted upwards through the black sky and into space, Virgin Galactic Mission Control confirmed the news and congratulated the two astronaut pilots: “ Unity, Welcome to Space”.

After a Mach 2.5 supersonic re-entry into the atmosphere, which utilised Unity’s unique “feathering” configuration, Forger and CJ guided the spaceship down to a smooth runway landing and an emotional homecoming welcome.

Commenting from the flight line Richard Branson said: “Many of you will know how important the dream of space travel is to me personally. Ever since I watched the moon landings as a child I have looked up to the skies with wonder. We started Virgin nearly 50 years ago dreaming big and loving a challenge. Today, as I stood among a truly remarkable group of people with our eyes on the stars, we saw our biggest dream and our toughest challenge to date fulfilled. It was an indescribable feeling: joy, relief, exhilaration and anticipation for what is yet to come.

“Today, for the first time in history, a crewed spaceship, built to carry private passengers, reached space. Today we completed our first revenue generating flight and our pilots earned their Commercial Astronaut Wings. Today, we have shown that Virgin Galactic really can open space to change the world for good. We will now push on with the remaining portion of our flight test program, which will see the rocket motor burn for longer and VSS Unity fly still faster and higher towards giving thousands of private astronauts an experience which provides a new, planetary perspective to our relationship with the Earth and the cosmos. This is a momentous day and I could not be more proud of our teams who together have opened a new chapter of space exploration.”

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, said: “What we witnessed today is more compelling evidence that commercial space is set to become one of the twenty-first century’s defining industries. Reusable vehicles built and operated by private companies are about to transform our business and personal lives in ways which are as yet hard to imagine. New enterprises are being created which will become hugely valuable, while enabling humanity to better manage some of its greatest future challenges. Today was a remarkable achievement brought about by the skill, dedication and support of our shareholders, staff, customers, partners and many other stakeholders. We extend our congratulations and thanks to each and every one of them.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Marvel Reveals the Future of the X-Men in Final ‘X-Men: The Seminal Moments’ Documentary Short Episode

The next seminal moment in X-Men history debuts with House of X and Powers of X this July! Just a month before the highly-anticipated debut of HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X, Marvel released an all-new episode of X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS featuring series writer Jonathan Hickman and other legendary Marvel creators as they shed light on what the future holds for mutants across the universe!

“When Jonathan set out to tell this story, he set out to change the way people think about the Marvel mutants forever…it really shakes things up,” said X-Men Editor Jordan D. White. “The first time he told it to me, I was upset. I was like, ‘We can’t do that. We CAN’T do that.’ The more I thought about it, the more I went, ‘Wait hang on, what if we did...’”

As HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X is set to shake the Marvel Universe to its core, Hickman revealed what fans might expect from the series:

“There’s no alternate universe version of the X-Men that we’re doing – time travel, or any of that kind of stuff…

MARVEL’S PULL LIST UNVEILS EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW FOR UPCOMING MARVEL COMICS

Cover art for House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 revealed for the first time, beginning a historic new era for the X-Men! Today, Marvel released a special edition of THE PULL LIST, unveiling exclusive information for titles coming to comic shops this July! Presented by hosts Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Tucker Markus, THE PULL LIST sheds light on some of the most highly-anticipated Marvel comics news, sharing details on writer Jonathan Hickman's new direction for the X-Men; trouble for Rocket in "Guardians of the Galaxy"; The Thing and Hulk clash in "Fantastic Four"; and new series "Punisher Kill Krew #1" and "Loki #1."



For more information, check out this special episode of Marvel’s PULL LIST at http://marvel.com/julycomics. Tune in to Marvel’s Pull List each week for more exclusive news and reveals!





David Tennant and Catherine Tate return as the Doctor and Donna!

David Tennant and Catherine Tate reprise their roles in Doctor Who for three more audio adventures in time and space, in The Teth Doctor Adventures - Volume 3.
And they’re taking the family with them...
Jacqueline King will return as Sylvia Noble, Donna’s mother and, returning to Big Finish after an eleven-year absence, Bernard Cribbins will reprise his role as Wilfred Mott, Donna’s grandfather.
The Doctor and Donna will be back in action, with three new audio adventures coming May 2019.
3.1 No Place by James Goss
It's Haunted Makeovers! The home improvement show with a spooky twist. The Noble family are hoping to cast out a few spirits along with the old bathroom suite, as presenter Justin joins Donna, Wilf, Sylvia and the Doctor for the latest edition of his reality TV series. Of course, Justin knows that any supernatural phenomena can be faked. Ghosts can't possibly be real. Can they..?
3.2 One Mile Downby Jenny T Colgan
Donna and the Doctor take a holiday - in the beautiful un…