Virgin Galactic steps up gliding tests at US spaceport

Virgin Galactic continued to test in New Mexico, completing its second successful gliding test of its VSS Unity space shuttle since moving to New Mexico earlier this year,media reported. The test brought the VSS Unity space shuttle to a new speed, and the company is advancing its test program at the U.S. spaceport.

Virgin Galactic steps up gliding tests at US spaceport

Virgin Galactic opened a plant at the U.S. spaceport in February after using its VMS Eve mothership to transport vsS Unity space plane from its manufacturing facility in Mojave, California, for three hours. The new headquarters will serve as a base for the final phase of the company’s flight test program and will eventually be commercially operational after the completion of the operational operation.

Although VSS Unity has previously completed a supersonic test flight, the company is now familiar with itself and its space plane over New Mexico. The new test flight kicked off on May 1st, when the space plane was carried off by VMS Eve and released at an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,200 meters) to reach mach 0.70. In a recent test, VSS Unity was again released by VMS Eve in gliding, but this time at an altitude of 51,000 feet (15,500 meters), at a speed of Mach 0.85.

Virgin Galactic steps up gliding tests at US spaceport

The spacecraft also performed a series of in-flight maneuvers designed to test its maneuvering performance, and the data collected throughout the process facilitated aerodynamic modeling. From here, the team will begin preparing for rocket-powered flights as it looks at commercial flights farther in space.

“I’m very excited about the team’s hard work and the successful completion of today’s test flight,” said George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic. “This is an important test, and before the data review, it means that we can now start preparing the aircraft’s power flight. Our focus this year remains unchanged on ensuring that aircraft and our operations are ready for long-term, regular commercial space services. “