SpaceShipTwo Unity Reaches New Heights on Program’s Ninth Flight

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity completed its fifth powered flight on Friday, setting new altitude and speed records while carrying a third crew member for the first time.

Richard Branson’s suborbital space plane hit Mach 3.04 as it soared to an altitude of 295,007 ft (89.9 km/55.87 miles) over the California’s Mojave Desert.  Unity’s previous flight reached Mach 2.9 and an altitude of 82.72 km above the High Desert.

Virgin Galactic Chief Pilot David Mackay was in command with Mike ‘Sooch’ Masucci in the co-pilot’s seat. The company chief astronaut trainer, Beth Moses, was aboard to test out the astronaut experience. She was able to leave her seat in the six-passenger cabin and float around.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Congratulations! Sounds like all the goals were achieved!

  • Bulldog

    Whoa! That’s great news, had no idea that they would fly a third crew member. Sure looks like the first increment in the ramp up to commercial ops. Well done Virgin. Best wishes for continued success in the flight test program.

  • Jeff Smith

    Congrats

  • Ignacio Rockwill

    Ditto, that was a great surprise. Congratulations, Beth. And 7.2 km higher than last flight to boot!

  • WhoAmI

    7.2km higher in altitude with only 10.1km to go before hitting the Karman line and eliminating it as a benefit currently only available to customers of BO’s NS. Will they do it?

  • therealdmt

    Pretty cool. And, they got higher with an extra person. Definitely makes one wonder if there’s a bit more performance still to be had.

    Finally, Beth Moses officially has a pretty cool job 🙂