VSS Unity Virgin Galactic tourist spacecraft made its first piloted flight, reaching the boundary of the space and successfully landed back to the ground. After 15 years of development, the company came close to the launch of commercial flights, which should begin from next year.
On May 22, a VMS EVE carrier airplane with fixed VSS Unity shuttle flew to New Mexico. Having reached a height of 13.7 km. The six-seater spacecraft was minted, and continued to rise using his own reactive engine. As a result, he acted to speed, three times higher than the speed of sound, and reached a height of 89 km above sea level, going beyond the stratosphere.
On board the shuttle there were two pilots, the mass of sensors collecting all flight data, as well as NASA research equipment, established as part of the Flight Opportunities cooperation program, which also recorded the acceleration and trajectory of movement. All this helped to evaluate the effectiveness of the latest changes in the elements of the case and control systems.
Before the start of commercial flights, VSS Unity will make at least two more subborital flight. In one of them, there are already 4 specialists on board, and the founder of Virgin Galactic Sir Richard Branson, who watched the past test from the underground control center to the cosmos border.
The launch was repeatedly postponed. Initially, it was scheduled for December 2020, but due to technical problems, the jet engine of the ship did not start, so the pilots were forced to make an emergency landing.
Due to the multiple transfer of testing dates, many investors stopped supporting the company, as a result of which in a couple of months its shares fell by more than 70%. In early February, the course was $ 62.8, and on May 19, on the eve of the launch announcement, they were sold for $ 17,27.
In addition, hangar and starting ground were built with significant support for the Government of New Mexico and local residents who have invested in infrastructure more than $ 200 million.
From the moment the date announcement of the first piloted flight VSS Unity began to improve. Already on May 20, Virgin Galactic shares added 6.36% in price, and during the day after the successful completion of the testing raised by 30%. At the time of publication, they traded $ 25.53, rising by almost 50% per week.
Analysts believe that in the future the interest of investors will influence the intensity of reports of new flights, their success, participation in them Sir Richard Branson, as well as the actions of the nearest company’s competitors,
The exact timing of the launch of the first commercial flights is still unknown. Virgin Galactic plans to start sending tourists to space in 2022.
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