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Virgin Galactic spacecraft reaches new heights (video)



  Virgin Galactic's Space Trajectory Rises to New Heights (Video)

Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spacecraft rises above ground during the third rocket-propelled test flight on July 26, 201

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Credit: Virgin Galactic

19659004] Virgin Galactic's suborbital spacecraft VSS Unity has just climbed to new heights, and thanks to a new video, you can join them.

Unity made its third rocket-propelled test flight yesterday (26 July). Reaching a maximum altitude of 52,060 meters and a maximum speed of Mach 2.47. (Mach 1 is the speed of sound, about 767 mph, or 1.235 km / h, at sea level.)

Neither the unit nor its predecessor, VSS Enterprise, had ever been so high before, said representatives of Virgin Galactic. [Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity Spaceliner in Pictures]

The newly released video compresses the flight in 2.5 visually stunning minutes. Viewers see Unity being carried across the Mojave Air and Space Port to the south by the aircraft's WhiteKnightTwo mothership, called VMS Eve.

Unity began flying freely at an altitude of 46,500 feet (14,170 m) captures the dramatic case: the winged spaceship drops for a moment towards the bottom of the Mojave Desert before the plane's rocket engine comes to life and Unity continues to push upwards.

The spacecraft became high enough for pilots Dave Mackay and Mike "Sooch" Masucci – and all of us, vicariously – to see the curvature of the earth against the blackness of space.

"That's a million-dollar look out the window, Dave," Masucci said in the video, which also shows shots in the cockpit of the two pilots who operate the vehicle.

Mackay and Masucci soon steered the unit home safely; The video ends with the spacecraft touching the Mojave Air and Space Port while spectators cheer for the plane's return.

Unity is the second SpaceShipTwo vehicle that Virgin Galactic designed to bring paying customers and scientific payloads on short-haul suborbital space. The first issue, Enterprise, crashed during a test flight in October 2014, killing co-driver Michael Alsbury and injury pilot Peter Siebold.

Unity's first two missile flights took place in April and May this year. If the tests continue to be good, the spacecraft could soon be commercializing flights – perhaps even before the end of the year, said Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson.

Hundreds of people have already booked a space aboard the six-passenger aerospace vehicle. Tickets are currently being sold for $ 250,000 each.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.


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