Mojave, California – A ship destined for space tourism by the company Virgin Galactic He sailed in the sky above the Mojave Desert on Thursday, and reached what society sees on the border of space.
The vehicle reached a height of 51 km before the start of the gradual descent, said mission officer Enrico Palermo. The ship landed on the track shortly after.
"We're in space!" Palermo cried.
The flight test on Thursday is an important step for Virgin Galactic to fulfill the dream of space tourism. The company wants to take humans, having paid the most expensive transit, in its capsule with a capacity of six, that is, the same size as the executive plane.
The founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard BransonAccording to him, additional test flights will be carried out, and if everything improves, he will conduct a tour before the public can do so.
"I think in the second half of next year we'll start getting the ability to send ordinary people into space," he says.
Virgin Galactic considers that the space begins 50 km above the ground since it is the figure used by the Air Force and other US agencies. However, other experts believe that the decisive height is actually 62 miles. The CEO of Virgin Galactic, Whitesides, said recent studies indicate a lower elevation.
Whitesides said that the test of flight test data will be extended to next year.
"This is a huge advance, and once we examine the data we will see the way forward," he said.
At the beginning of the flight flight, a special plane carrying the spacecraft from Virginia rose nearly 13,100 meters (43,000 feet) before releasing the capsule, which then ignited its breezes and climbed out of sight.
The two pilots – Mark Stuckey and former NASA astronaut Rick Starkov – will receive the "wings" given to those who went into space, said Bailey Edwards, a clerk at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Virgin Galactic's attempt to build this capsule took much longer than initially estimated. He suffered from a large number of obstacles at first, such as when the first vehicle that was separated from Hopper when removed in 2014, resulting in the death of a co-pilot.
More than 600 people have pledged to pay up to $ 250,000 to launch into space as tourists in an experience where, as promised, will float zero gravity and see through the window into the entire world.
The initiative began in 2004, when Branson announced the creation of Virgin Galactic, shortly after the launch of SpaceShipOne, the first manned spacecraft funded with private capital, which went three times into space.
SpaceShipOne, funded by the late billionaire Paul Allen and created by designer Avertotti Burt Rutan, won the $ 10 million Ansari X Award, which was set up to boost space tourism.