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30 May 2018

Virgin Galactic conducts second successful supersonic flight

Sir Richard Branson and his aerospace company, Virgin Galactic, have conducted a second successful test flight of the company's commercial spaceship.

Called the VSS Unity, the supersonic, rocket-powered craft is designed to be turned around and flown at a higher frequency than has traditionally been the case for human spaceflight. During a voyage, passengers will experience about four minutes of weightlessness and will be able to view the Earth from roughly 150,000ft (45,700m) up.

"It was great to see our beautiful spaceship back in the air and to share the moment with the talented team who are taking us, step by step, to space," said Branson.

"Seeing Unity soar upwards at supersonic speeds is inspiring and absolutely breathtaking. We are getting ever closer to realising our goals."

Virgin Galactic is partnered with its sister operation, The Spaceship Company (TSC), on the project. TSC, says Virgin, is focused on manufacturing next-generation aerospace vehicles, with a primary focus on new spaceships for Virgin Galactic’s future fleet.

Once commercial flights are in operation, the six-man spacecraft will cost the hefty sum of US$250,000 (€215,000, £188,000) per person to fly. For those who can’t afford the fee, a multi-million dollar visitor experience at Virgin’s Spaceport America in New Mexico offers a hands-on, authentic experience inside a commercial space launch facility.

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