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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.
Basics - Virgin - Galactic - Flight - Style
Much has been redone since then but the basics of the Virgin Galactic flight style are the same. A relatively traditional jet-powered plane, a WhiteKnightTwo class plane (in this case the VMS Eve), carries the SpaceShipTwo craft (Unity) up to somewhere around 45,000 feet. There the latter detaches and fires up its rocket engine, accelerating to high speed and high altitude, after which it glides to the surface and lands more or less like any...
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