Virgin Galactic has already had some huge success with its return to flight, as of yesterday, they have successfully completed three unpowered free flights with SpaceShipTwo (VSS Unity).
The third and most recent of those test flights took place from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California this week, launching itself from under the wing of Virgin Galactic’s mothership, WhiteKnightTwo.
VSS Unity was carried to its target altitude above the Mojave Desert, where it was released to glide back to Earth and then complete a runway landing at the Air & Space port.
This process was completed by the pilots Dave Mackey and Rick “C.J” Sturckow.
C.J is a particularly interesting pick for this mission as he is a former NASA astronaut who flew on four space shuttle missions and it is his first time flying the VSS Unity, although he did fly the VSS Enterprise, Unity’s sister ship, prior to the loss of that vehicle in October 2014.
Here’s what Virgin Galactic said about the launch on their Twitter:
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) February 24, 2017
It’s certainly great to see Virgin Galactic succeeding, they have a unique and interesting plan that we are looking forward to following over the next few years.