Virgin Galactic's Unity landed at a spaceport in America after completing a suborbital flight. Its owner, billionaire Richard Branson, was on board.
The spacecraft took to the air on an Eve launch vehicle from the private U.S. Spaceport America in New Mexico. At an altitude of about 15 kilometers, it separated and traveled to an altitude of about 100 kilometers. The spacecraft reached the boundary of the Carman Line, considered the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. The radio broadcast was carried on Virgin Galactic’s Twitter feed.
Test pilots Dave McKay and Michael Masucci, explorer Sirisha Bandla, senior engineer Colin Bennett and astronaut training program manager Beth Moses were with Branson during the flight.
Another billionaire who owns Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, will go into space in nine days. He will make a space flight on the New Shepard spacecraft built by his company. Blue Origin is confident that the Unity test cannot be considered a space flight, as the craft will not be able to get high enough above the Earth. Blue Origin called Mr. Branson’s craft a “high-altitude airplane,” and his transport a rocket.