Private firms are getting into the space program as well. A number of companies have already made test flights as space becomes the new frontier for investment. One of those getting into the space program is Virgin Galactic. The new SpaceShipTwo makes its first glided flight towards a new age in the space program.
Setbacks would always be part of any space program. Virgin Galactic had it two years ago when its first version of SpaceShipTwo crashed, resulting in the death of its co-pilot. Virgin Galactic is now back, and the SpaceShipTwo named VSS Unity has made its glided flight.
VSS Unity has been carried first by WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve over at the Mojave Desert. After it has reached a prescribed altitude, VSS Unity was released and it then glided its way back to Earth. Virgin Galactic on Twitter has announced the successful test for VSS Unity.
VSS Unity looks very much like its predecessor, according to The National. While VSS Unity may have made a successful glided flight, the project still has a long way to go. Commercial space flight won't be happening until all tests have shown that it is safe to do so.
Unlike other private space programs, Virgin Galactic's aim is more modest. It aims to take space tourists into an orbital trip around the Earth. That trip would be made 100 kilometers above the Earth, as Phys Org reports. This is a more modest program than taking people to Mars. Even so, safety is paramount for the Virgin Galactic program.
SpaceShipTwo is the commercial version of the earlier SpaceShipOne. The current model has been unveiled last February. The craft is designed to carry passengers into momentary weightlessness as it flies high above the Earth.
Even if the program is more modest, riding in it won't be cheap. Seats are $250,000 per person, and there is already a waiting list for it. Celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio have already signed up for a trip. Testing will continue while to make sure that would be safe, as the new SpaceShipTwo makes its first glided flight. A number of private firms have Mars as their target, though Mars' radiation might become an issue.