(WHNT)- Virgin Galactic completed its final test flight on Thursday, May 25, amid future plans to take commercial flights with paying customers to space.
Successful completion of the Virgin Galactic flight ‘Unity 25’ was the final stage needed to continue forward with commercial plans to eventually take customers on a short flight to space to experience weightlessness.
Virgin Galactic tweeted, “Successful boost, WE HAVE REACED SPACE!”
Founder and billionaire Richard Branson sent a crewed flight to the edge of space nearly two years ago. This milestone from two years ago to now is crucial in steps moving forward with commercial flight plans.
The objective of ‘Unity 25’ is “the final assessment of the full spaceflight system and astronaut experience before commercial service opens in late June,” said Virgin Galactic press release.
“Returning to space is what we have all worked towards. Our mission specialists were selected for their diverse expertise, and they couldn’t be better suited to validate the astronaut training program and overall experience. After this flight we will begin flying our customers to space,” said Mike Moses, President of Spaceline Missions and Safety.
Take off time was posted at 9:15 a.m. MDT with the craft reaching a release altitude of 44,500 ft. Top speed reached, from Virgin Galactic post-flight statistics, reached Mach 2.94 then landed back on Earth at 10:37 a.m. MDT.
A new mission is now in the works for the company called ‘Galactic 01.’ It is a commercial research mission planned for late June.
After the commercial mission of ‘Galactic 01,’ paying ticketholders will get a chance to experience space, the “trip of a lifetime,” says Virgin Galactic brochure.
Flight costs for customers wanting to experience space through the Virgin Galactic program requires an initial deposit of $150,000 USD and a final deposit of $300,000 USD, with the grand total Flight cost coming in at $450,000 USD.
For more information about flight plans and updates from Virgin Galactic, visit their website at https://www.virgingalactic.com/flight-experience.