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Virgin Galactic Is Ready to Go to Space

first_img Virgin Galactic Gives First Look at Its Luxurious Lounge for Space TouristsVirgin Galactic Reaches Space Again, This Time With First Test Passenger Virgin Galactic hopes to reach space for the first time today (weather permitting).Richard Branson’s spaceflight company this week revealed the window for its next powered test flight of VSS Unity opens on Dec. 13.“We are currently planning to fly at the opening of that window on Thursday, pending acceptable weather and technical readiness,” a blog post said.No further announcements have been made.During this fourth phase of testing, the firm hopes to push VSS Unity higher and faster than ever before, burning the rocket motor for longer (though not to its full duration).“Although this could happen as soon as Thursday morning, the nature of flight test means that it may take us a little longer to get to that milestone,” the company admitted.As of October, Virgin Galactic was “more than tantalizingly close” to leaving Earth’s atmosphere, according to Richard Branson.“We should be in space within weeks, not months,” the Virgin Group founder and CEO told CNBC.“And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years,” he continued. “And then we’ll be in space with people not too long after that.”Since its founding in 2004, the spaceflight company has been on a rollercoaster to the cosmos: The White Knight Two carrier plane and suborbital SpaceShipTwo flew together in 2010.But a series of delays has grounded the firm, which suffered a disaster four years ago, when the VSS Enterprise broke apart in midair, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury and seriously injuring pilot Peter Siebold.Replacement ship VSS Unity completed its first successful glide test in December 2016, and another six by January of this year. It performed powered test flights in April and May.“Incremental flight test programs are by definition open-ended and, to a great extent, each test depends on the data from the test that precedes it,” the blog said. “There is no guarantee that everything will work perfectly first time and, like all programs seeking to take bold steps, we will inevitably have times when things don’t go as planned.“Our team’s biggest priority is to use meticulous planning and preparation to ensure that stages are dealt with safety, and that every outcome informs and improves future performance,” Virgin Galactic continued.Keep an eye on the skies, as Branson & Co. gear up to finally take their first trip to space.More on Geek.com:Virgin Orbit Unveils ‘LauncherOne’ Rocket, Moves Closer to Test FlightsNASA Sets Date For First Uncrewed SpaceX Rocket LaunchCan 8-Hour Forensic Spacewalk Solve Galactic Whodunit? Stay on targetlast_img read more

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