Virgin Galactic spaceship VSS Unity completed the first glide flight in New Mexico
7 months ago
Virgin Galactic spaceship took its first glide flight on May 2 in the desert of New Mexico. The flight took off from Spaceport America and this gliding flight is like an inaugural of solo flight of VSS Unity in New Mexico. It’s an important milestone in commercial flight service.
The flight took off from the Spaceport America runway with VSS Unity attached to the carrier aircraft, VMS Eve. The VMS Eve carrier mother-ship flew by two pilots Michael Masucci and Kelly Latimer and there were two more people on that flight Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow who together with the team executed some important tasks like take-off and landing of the flight.
According to a statement published by Virgin Galactic, the mother-ship carrier VMS Eve climbed to an altitude of 50,000ft before VSS Unity was detached from VMS Eve. The spaceship achieved a glide speed of Mach 0.70 (nearly 864Kmh) and completed multiple test-points, before touching back down smoothly for a runway landing at Spaceport America.
By the way, we are all going through pandemic time, but the test flight was conducted under a set of stringent operational protocols to ensure safety against COVID-19. Its successful execution was made possible by a concerted effort to redesign all the operational elements required for safe flight test while meeting new health and wellness protocols. These protocols include changes to the work areas and procedures to enforce social distancing as advised by state guidelines as well as universal mask usage.
It is a milestone to achieve this major achievement which has set the roots of future commercial flight service. This glide flight provided the first opportunity to test all the components required to fly the carrier aircraft and spaceship in glide configuration, from a new home base, and in new airspace.