Virgin Galactic Makes History with First Commercial Sub-Orbital Spaceflight

  • Virgin Galactic’s rocketplane, VSS Unity, reached an altitude of 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers) on June 29, 2023, on its first commercial sub-orbital flight to space.
  • The flight carried six passengers, including three Italian researchers, and one pilot.
  • The flight took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico and landed safely back at the same location.
  • The flight was the first commercial flight for Virgin Galactic and the first to carry paying passengers.
  • The flight is a major milestone for Virgin Galactic, which has been developing its sub-orbital spaceflight program for over a decade.
  • The company plans to begin regular commercial flights in the near future.
  • The flight lasted about 90 minutes.
  • The passengers experienced about three minutes of weightlessness.
  • The flight was conducted in a modified version of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceplane.
  • The spaceplane was carried to an altitude of 45,000 feet by a carrier aircraft, VMS Eve.
  • The spaceplane then ignited its rocket motor and climbed to an altitude of 51.4 miles.
  • The spaceplane then glided back to Earth and landed at Spaceport America.

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