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Branson succeeds round trip to space on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity

Richard Branson with Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor; Colin Bennett, Lead Flight Operations Engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations. Photo: Screenshot from Virgin Galactic’s video.

Luxembourg, 12 July 2021. – They made it: Sir Richard Branson and three colleagues from his space company Virgin Galactic took the round trip to the edge of space.

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity successfully reached space, completing the company’s fourth rocket-powered spaceflight, the company said yesterday.

It was the 22nd test flight of VSS Unity and the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin, including the company’s founder, Richard Branson.

The crew fulfilled a number of test objectives related to the cabin and customer experience, including evaluating the commercial customer cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training program at Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic said.

VSS Unity achieved a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mothership, VMS Eve. The vehicle reached an altitude of 85.78 kilometers, before gliding smoothly to a runway landing at Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic said.

“I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space, “ Richard Branson said. “We are at the vanguard of a new space age. As Virgin’s founder, I was honoured to test the incredible customer experience as part of this remarkable crew of mission specialists and now astronauts. I can’t wait to share this experience with aspiring astronauts around the world.”

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