The spacecraft unit left the ground Friday morning
Virgin Galactic pilots Dave Mackay and Mike Masucci flew the airline's fifth-supersonic test flight – with one working passenger on board . After departing from a course attached to the WhiteKnightTwo "mothership", Unity unloaded about 45,000 feet before its rocket engine was turned on and the craft was blown into space.
The spacecraft brought more weight than ever before, near the expected loads, if it had a full load of passengers on board, the company said.
After the hunt for space, the VSS Unity repeated the Earth's atmosphere and glided safely down to the virgin galactic space port of California's wind-blown Mojave desert.
In early February, two Virgin Galactic pilots were assigned astronaut wings by the US Department of Transportation after being just over 51 miles above Earth in December. It was the first time the company reached its place.
The United States considers 50 miles above sea level to be the boundary between earth and space, although many scientific agencies and organizations spend – 62 miles above sea level – defining this imaginary boundary.
The limit is so unclear. But Virgin Galactic's recordings certainly show an outer space experience. The company's CEO, billionaire Richard Branson, said he boarded the Unity this summer.
If the company's continuing test flights all turn out to be successful, customers will go for a trip to the room, which from start to landing lasts approx. 90 minutes. Passengers will experience a few minutes of weightless before the spacecraft begins its descent.
Although space tourism is still in its development stages, Virgin Galactic has formidable competition. Blue Origin, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, plans to start test flights with people aboard his New Shepard spacecraft later this year, Bezos. Bezos also said that New Shepard will fly over the Kármán line, just as it already has no people on board.
There is another big difference between the two space tourists. Blue Origin customers will burst into space on a rocket while Virgin Galactic passengers will land on a California course.