Billionaire Sir Richard Branson makes suborbital flight

Branson will fly into space in the Unity 22 rocket plane. Photo: DON EMMERT

British billionaire and Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson made a suborbital flight on Sunday.

Branson flew the Unity 22 rocket plane and had three crew members and two pilots on board. The spacecraft began its acceleration from an altitude of 16 km, it was delivered to the launching position by the carrier aircraft Virgin Galactic VMS Eve, which took off from the private spaceport “America”.

The flight started at 17:30 Estonian time.

Thus, Branson and his company Virgin Galactic are ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose flight into space on the New Shepard spacecraft is scheduled for July 20.

The entire flight took about 90 minutes, including the ascent to the launch position, separation of the Unity spacecraft from the carrier aircraft, flight to an altitude of 80 km and return back to the spaceport. explains

Prior to flight, VMS EVE was expected to release Unity approximately 50 minutes after takeoff. Unity will then turn on the hybrid rocket engine to begin the acceleration phase. This will take it to an altitude of more than 80 kilometers, where the crew will experience a state of weightlessness for about four minutes. After that, Unity will return to Earth.

Since Virgin Galactic flew below the Karman Line, rivals from Bezos’ Blue Origin do not recognize it as a flight into space. However, according to the classification of the United States Air Force, a space flight is a flight that exceeds 50 miles (approximately 80 km).

The primary goal of the Unity 22 launch is to test flights for future Virgin Galactic passenger flights. Branson’s company already has approximately 600 customers who have made deposits and are ready to travel on a suborbital spaceplane.

Branson rode a bicycle to Spaceport America. “A wonderful day to go into space,” he wrote.

In the morning, SpaceX founder Elon Musk came to visit Branson and wished him luck. “There’s a big day ahead. It’s great to start the morning with a friend. Feel great, excited, ready,” Branson said on Twitter.

It was possible to track the progress of the space flight here:

Virgin Galactic is part of the Branson Virgin Group. The company plans to organize tourist suborbital space flights and launches of small artificial satellites

Updated at 18:44

Source: by

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