Virgin Galactic Powers On

VSS Unity firing its hybrid engine
VSS Unity firing its hybrid engine(Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic’s manned spaceplane has hit another milestone, breaking Mach 2 as it roared into the mesosphere. With test pilots Dave Mackay and Mike “Sooch” Masucci at the controls, VSS Unity was released from the mothership VMS Eve at an altitude of 46,500 ft (14,200 m) before firing its hybrid rocket engine for 42 seconds to power it to 170,800 ft (32.3 mi, 52 km) and a speed of Mach 2.47 (1,832 mph, 2,948 km/h). read more

Virgin Space Plane

VSS Unity returning from its feather test flight
VSS Unity returning from its feather test flight (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity suborbital spacecraft took to the skies over the Mojave desert in an unpowered flight test of the ship’s feather re-entry system. Piloted by Mark Stucky and Mike Masucci, the glide test is the fourth independent flight and the eighth total flight of the craft, which is designed to carry paying passengers on brief excursions to the edge of space. read more