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Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Successfully Completes Suborbital Flight

The American manned spacecraft SpaceShipTwo (VSS Unity) made a successful landing on Friday after its fourth commercial suborbital flight, developer Virgin Galactic said.

The Galactic 04 mission launched on October 6 at 11:28 am East Coast time, when the VSS Unity spaceplane took off under the wings of the VMS Eve carrier. VSS Unity began its own flight at 12:10 EDT at an altitude of 13,515 m and, turning on its own engine, headed into suborbital space at speeds up to Mach 2.95 (3520.11 km/h), that is  almost three times the speed of sound.

In addition to Ms Salim, British advertising executive Trevor Beattie and American astronomy teacher Ron Rosano were on board.  Along with the space tourists, instructor Beth Moses was in the plane’s cabin. The maximum altitude of VSS Unity was 87.4 km. For a few minutes, space tourists were able to experience weightlessness.

The flight ended around 12:25 EDT when the spaceplane landed at Spaceport America in New Mexico. VSS Unity was piloted by Kelly Latimer and C.J. Sturckow, while VMS Eve, which also landed at Spaceport America, was piloted by Nicola Pecile and Jameel Janjua.

The Unity model was introduced in February 2017, and its first test flight took place in September of the same year. After a series of test launches, company founder Richard Branson made a suborbital flight on a vehicle developed by Virgin Galactic in July 2021.

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