Published on August 6, 2020

GNF - Welcome (back) to Space: An Overview of SS2's Historic Spaceflights

Virgin Galactic, a privately funded company based in the United States, is on-track to become the world’s first commercial space-line. Virgin Galactic is currently testing SpaceShipTwo, a reusable vehicle designed to reach space altitudes on frequent, affordable, and safe suborbital voyages. Virgin Galactic’s vehicles have been designed with the intention of setting new standards for human spaceflight safety, frequency, flexibility, and cost. Our suborbital spaceflight system consists of two vehicles: WhiteKnightTwo is a four-engine, dual-fuselage jet aircraft capable of high-altitude heavy lift missions, including but not limited to fulfilling its role as a mothership for SpaceShipTwo, a suborbital spaceplane designed to safely and routinely transport people and payloads to space and back.

Virgin Galactic’s current vehicle, named VSS Unity, is presently undergoing flight testing at our facilities in Mojave, CA, USA. Unity made its maiden flight to space on December 13, 2018 reaching almost three times the speed of sound and an apogee of 82.7 km. The flight was piloted by Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturkow who received their FAA Commercial Astronaut wings in Washington D.C. after the flight. On February 22, 2019 Unity reached space for a second time reaching speeds of Mach 3.04 and an apogee of almost 90km. This flight carried three people into space - pilots Dave Mackay and Michael “Sooch” Masucci, and Galactic’s chief astronaut trainer Beth Moses.

A representative from Virgin Galactic provided an overview of these historic spaceflights, and discuss the company's future operations and its goals to open space for all.