VSS Unity First Fully Crewed Flight Cover
On the morning of July 11, billionaire Richard Branson and five other crewmates briefly launched into space for the first fully crewed spaceflight of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo spaceplane.
At 8:40 a.m. local time, the crew of Virgin Galactic's Unity 22 test flight mission took off from the company's Spaceport America facility in New Mexico and flew just above the boundary of space, where the four passengers and two pilots experienced about four minutes of weightlessness.
It was "the experience of a lifetime," Branson said during a live broadcast of the flight. Branson, designated "Astronaut 001" for the Unity 22 mission, founded the Virgin Group of companies that includes Virgin Galactic.
The SpaceShip Two vehicle, named VSS Unity, made a successful, crewed suborbital test flight to 282,000 feet (86 kilometers) above Earth's surface before gliding back down to Spaceport America for a smooth runway landing.
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