The arrival of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo vehicle, the VSS Unity, at Spaceport America in New Mexico brings the company one big step closer to flying customers to suborbital space
Unity made the trip from Mojave, California — the home base of Virgin’s manufacturing subsidiary, The Spaceship Company — beneath the wings of VMS Eve, the plane that will carry Unity aloft during operational missions. The journey therefore kicked off the final stages of Unity’s test campaign.
SpaceShipTwo is a six-passenger space plane designed to carry people and scientific payloads on brief trips to suborbital space. The vehicle gets airborne with the help of a carrier plane called WhiteKnightTwo (VMS Eve).
At an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters), WhiteKnightTwo drops SpaceShipTwo, and the space plane fires up its onboard rocket motor to make its own way to suborbital space. Passengers onboard SpaceShipTwo will get to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see Earth’s curvature against the blackness of space before coming back down for a runway landing.
A ticket to ride SpaceShipTwo currently sells for $250,000, and more than 600 people have put down a deposit to book a seat, Virgin Galactic representatives have said.
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