Carried by her mothership VMS Eve, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity has arrived at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The move from Mojave, California, signals the beginning of the end of SpaceShipTwo’s test campaign, moving ever closer to operational missions for paying customers.
The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and SpaceShipTwo spaceplane departed Mojave Air and Space Port on Thursday, conducting testing over California before turning east for the journey to New Mexico.
(Lead Photo Jack Beyer for NSF).
Mojave has been VSS Unity’s home since it began flight testing in 2016. The rigorous test campaign included four captive carry flights under VMS Eve that year, followed by seven glide flights from 2016 to 2018.
On April 5, 2018, VSS Unity fired its engine for the first time, conducting a powered flight up 25.7 kilometers in altitude. The flight was also the first time VSS Unity went supersonic, reaching a speed of Mach 1.87, or 1.87 times the speed of sound.
Subsequent powered flights on May 29 and July 26 of 2018 reached altitudes of 34.9 km and 52 km respectively, as well as increased speeds of Mach 1.9 and Mach 2.47.
VSS Unity returns to Mojave Air and Space Port ...