|Manu||Date: Sunday, 23-May-2021, 3:01 PM | Message # 1|
|By Jonathan Amos|
BBC Science Correspondent
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space plane has conducted the first of three key test flights that should enable it to enter commercial service.
The Unity vehicle, with pilots Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow at the controls, powered to a height of 89km (55 miles), and then glided back down to Earth.
Sir Richard has some 600 paying customers - including movie and music stars - waiting to take the same ride.
But they'll only get their chance once Unity is fully licensed.
That ought, finally, to happen by the year's end.
The licensing process is the responsibility of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who will now receive operational and performance data from Saturday's sortie high above the New Mexico desert.
Officials will want to see, for example, that an electronic interference issue that aborted a previous flight attempt in December, has been corrected. On the evidence of Saturday's successful flight, it has been.
Read more/full article/source - https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57214988