Odds and Ends 

Virgin Galactic relocates SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity to its spaceport for preparations ahead of commercial flights

Virgin Galactic is one crucial step closer to actually flying paying customers to space: The space tourism company just relocated its SpaceShipTwo vehicle, the VSS Unity, from its Mojave, California manufacturing facility to Spaceport America in New Mexico, where it will begin flights with a goal of at least sending company founder Richard Branson to space during the year of his 70th birthday. VSS Unity made the trip attached to the carrier aircraft that will bring it up to its launch altitude, where it’ll detach from the plane (named ‘VMS…

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Odds and Ends 

Virgin Galactics SpaceShipTwo hits Mach 1.9 in second successful test flight

Virgin Galactic is celebrating a successful second test flight of SpaceShipTwo, the rocket-powered passenger spacecraft that may someday take tourists to the edge of space. Today’s test took the VSS Unity, the second craft built in this class, up to 114,500 feet and Mach 1.9, or nearly 1,300 miles per hour. Unity’s first powered flight was less than two months ago, which was itself the first powered flight Virgin Galactic had attempted since the fatal breakup of the company’s previous SpaceShipTwo-class spacecraft, Enterprise, in 2014. Much has been redone since…

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Odds and Ends 

Virgin Galactic set to start powered flight tests, aims for 2018 commercial trips

Virgin Galactic is resuming powered tests of its spaceplane after a tragic accident with its test vehicle SpaceShipTwo resulted in the death of co-pilot Michael Alsbury in 2014. The news comes via Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, who shared the news speaking to Bloomberg. After current glide-only tests wrap up, powered tests will begin at a pace of one every three weeks, reaching higher altitudes until eventually climbing to the edge of space by November or December of this year. If all goes well, Branson himself is set to be…

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