Branson's Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space

Dec 18, 2018, 00:59
Branson's Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space

Richard Branson center celebrates with pilots Rick "CJ" Sturckow (L), and Mark "Forger" Stucky (R), after Virgin Galactic's tourism spaceship climbed more than 50 miles high above California's Mojave Desert on December 13, 2018.

The pilots hope to fly the rocket ship to an altitude exceeding 50 miles (80 kilometers), which Virgin Galactic considers the boundary of space.

The rocket ship, called SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity, climbed more than 82 kilometers during the flight above California's Mojave Desert.

The two pilots aboard VSS Unity on Thursday will be awarded commercial astronaut wings from the The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial space travel. The pilots fired up the rocket for 30 seconds, keeping the nose pointed up, and reached Mach 1.87 before coasting to an altitude of 84,271 feet and gliding back to a landing.

Cutting-edge Russian robot was performer in a costume
Boris was shown on stage with co-hosts using dance moves so realistic that your dad would proudly use them at a wedding. Russian state television praised a "hi-tech robot" at a technology forum that is actually a man in a robot suit.

The rocket motor burnt for 60 seconds and the aircraft travelled at 2.9 times the speed of sound in today's test flight. Four research payloads from NASA's Flight Opportunities Program were on board its historic test flight as well as a test dummy, making the trip revenue-earning for the first time as well.

According to the statement, if the flight is successful the company will then "start simulating the commercial weight distribution in the spaceship represented by our future passengers". "I've personally invested about a billion dollars in this project, so having our first money coming back is a good feeling.We've got to make this a profitable venture and I think we can make it a profitable venture".

Besides VSS Unity, two more SpaceShipTwo vehicles are now under construction, with the first of them expected to be completed in about a year.

Virgin's twin-fuselage carrier airplane holding the SpaceShipTwo passenger spacecraft took off soon after 7 a.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) from the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 90 miles (145 km) north of Los Angeles. A 90-minute flight costs $250,000.

Nita Ambani performs at daughter Isha's pre-wedding bash in Mumbai
Flight traffic increased four-fold as high profile guests arrived in chartered jets in India for the wedding of the year. One highlight was a Bollywood dance number that the bride's mother, Nita, performed with her two sons, Akash and Anant.

While critics point to Branson's unfulfilled space promises over the past decade, the maverick businessman told a TV interviewer in October that Virgin's first commercial space trip with him onboard would happen "in months and not years".

Virgin's latest flight test comes four years after the original SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight that killed the co-pilot and seriously injured the pilot, dealing a major setback to Virgin Galactic, a US offshoot of the London-based Virgin Group. Branson plans to be the first passenger aboard VSS Unity. Blue Origin will use the more traditional method of spacecraft attached to a rocket launched from the ground.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides noted that recent research favours the lower altitude.

New versions of SpaceShipTwo are built by a Virgin Galactic sister company and flight testing is now in-house.

Packers part ways with Mike McCarthy
So we're going to do what we always do; we're going to represent the Packers the right way, I know that. Rodgers should have a few excellent years left. "I hate to repeat myself, but it's applicable".

"Safety's all that matters if you're putting people into space", he said.

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