• Joe Breitfeller

Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two Successfully Completes Second Flight From Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic announced on Thursday that Spaceship two has successfully completed its second test flight from Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The vehicle performed its first test flight on May 1st, 2020.


Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Two Completes Second Test Flight - Courtesy Virgin Galactic

On Thursday (June 25, 2020), Virgin Galactic announced the completion of SpaceShip Two’s second successful test flight form Las Cruces, New Mexico’s Spaceport America. The vehicle completed its first successful test flight on May 1st, 2020 and the second test marks a major milestone as the company progresses toward the launch of their commercial service. SpaceShip Two Unity’s flight deck was manned by Mark ‘Forger’ Stucky and Michael ‘Sooch’ Masucci, both commercial astronauts who have piloted previous Unity missions. Virgin Galactic’s carrier aircraft, VMS Eve was piloted by Nicola Pecile and CJ Sturckow. In Thursday’s announcement, Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company’s CEO, George Whitesides said,


“I am thrilled with the team’s hard work to complete today’s test flight successfully. It was an important test that, pending data review, means we can ow start preparing the vehicles for powered flight. Our focus for this year remains unchanged on ensuring the vehicles and our operations are prepared for long-term regular commercial spaceflight service.”


Thursday’s glide flight was flown at higher speeds and allowed the team to continue evaluating systems and performance in support of future rocket powered flights from Spaceport America. Flying SpaceShip Two (VSS Unity) in glide configuration at higher speeds allows vehicle systems to operate in an environment close to that seen during the phases of rocket boost on a spaceflight. During the test, the vehicle achieved a glide speed of Mach 0.85 after being released from the mothership (VMS Eve) at 51,000 feet. VSS Unity’s crew performed a series of maneuvers to gather data about vehicle performance and handling qualities at higher speeds for comparative data to be verified against the first test flight in order to enhance aerodynamic modelling. After an extensive review of the data, the Virgin Galactic team will now start preparing for the next phase of the test flight program, powered spaceflights from Spaceport America. The company is also finalizing modifications to the spaceship customer cabin and carrying out detailed inspections of all vehicle systems.


Left to Right: SpaceShipTwo Pilots Michael 'Sooch' Masucci and Mark 'Forger' Stucky, SpaceShipTwo Unity Released From VMS Eve for Second Glide Flight in New Mexico, SpaceShipTwo Unity Second Glide Flight over Spaceport America - Courtesy Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic also expressed gratitude to all stakeholders including the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA), the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Albuquerque Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and the FAA Air Traffic Control Center in Albuquerque for smooth coordination and integration.


Source: Virgin Galactic

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