Virgin Galactic, a company founded by Richard Branson in 2004, made its first passenger flight on Thursday, August 10. Its VSS Unity rocket has carried three people to the edge of space.
At the helm of the crew was Commander CJ Sturckow, a former NASA astronaut. In the cabin were Beth Moses, the company’s chief instructor, and passengers John Goodwin and Trick Schaff and their daughter Anastatia Myers.
Goodwin, 80, signed on to fly with Virgin Galactic in 2005. Despite having Parkinson’s disease, he says it was by far the best flight of his life. Her excitement was shared by Chaff and her daughter, who won their seats as winners in the sweepstakes for the nonprofit organization Space for Humanity.
With this, the company is setting a new milestone with the goal of expanding access to space for ordinary people. The flight began at 10:30 am local time, departing from Spaceport America, in the United States. VSS Unity was launched at 43,000 feet and reached the edge of space accelerating to Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) for 8 seconds.
Then the 65,000-pound engine was turned off, leaving the rocket 88 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The tour lasted about two hours and was of great interest to Timer, a VSS Unity pilot, who had the opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream of going into space. After reaching the apogee, Unity returned to Earth.
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