Space & Astronomy
Virgin Galactic set to resume test flights
By T.K. Randall
July 11, 2016 · 12 comments
The VSS Unity during its unveiling back in February of this year. Image Credit: YouTube / Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's fledgling space tourism firm is about to begin test flights of its new SpaceShipTwo.
Things hadn't been looking good for the company after its previous suborbital spaceplane - the VSS Enterprise - was lost during an ill-fated test flight which resulted in the death of a pilot back in 2014.
Not willing to let this setback deter them, the team worked hard to get things back on track, an effort culminating in the reveal of VSS Unity - a new and improved version of the SpaceShipTwo design.
Now after a further five months of work, Virgin Galactic is preparing to resume test flights in the hope of eventually reaching its goal of becoming the world's first commercial space tourism company.
Unity will take to the skies next month on the back of a separate aircraft as part of a multi-stage approach to sending the vehicle to the edge of space over 100km above the Earth's surface.
When the firm does eventually open its doors however the price for a seat, which stands at $250,000, will be prohibitively expensive for all but the most wealthy of space tourists.
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