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

IDW Publishing Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary with Epic IDW 20/20 Comic Book Initiative

IDW Publishing proudly celebrates its 20th anniversary beginning in January 2019 with an all-new weekly event, IDW 20/20! Explore some of pop culture’s most iconic properties – Ghostbusters, Jem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Star TrekTM, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – as secrets and startling revelations of these fan-favorite characters are revealed from 20 years into the future — or past! What made them into the heroes you love, and what twists does the future hold? "An anniversary like the one IDW is celebrating is a cause to look to the future and the past,” says IDW Editor-in-Chief John Barber. “It gives us a moment to reflect on where came from and where we’re going, because both directions are pretty exciting. We’re lucky to have partners like Hasbro, Nickelodeon, CBS Consumer Products, and Sony to share in the celebration — and to have these five sets of characters that have helped place IDW at the center of the pop culture universe!” January 2019’s IDW 20/

Supernatural: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray Review

*Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own* Synopsis: The Winchester brothers’ harrowing journey into the heart of darkness continues as Supernatural enters Season Fourteen. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) have matched wits with monsters, demons, Heaven and Hell. But last season, the Winchesters and Castiel (Misha Collins) stumbled upon a terrifying alternate universe: an apocalyptic world where they were never born, all while training Jack (Alexander Calvert), the son of Lucifer, and trying to save their mother, Mary Winchester. The final battle with Lucifer and the Archangel Michael altered the Winchester’s lives forever… and created an even greater threat for Sam and Dean. The boys are back and willing to risk everything for their loved ones in all twenty thrilling new adventures, including a historic 300th episode, with a Winchester family reunion never

Photo of the day - A Cap Wearing Brent Spiner as Data Checking Out His Script

A Cap Wearing Brent Spiner as Data from Star Trek The Next Generation Checking Out His Script.  What the camera doesn't show is how fast Data is reading the script.