The flight was brief, with a rocket engine burn of just 60 seconds, but the mission reached the company’s targeted altitude, hitting a peak of 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers), which it deems meets the requirement for spaceflight. (That’s the subject of some debate, with others arguing the boundary ought to lie at 62 miles, or 100 km.)
The two pilots on board during the flight, Mark ‘”Forger”‘ Stucky and Frederick “‘CJ”‘ Sturckow, landed safely back on the ground about an hour after entering the cockpit. During most of that time, VSS Unity was still connected to the specially designed plane that lifted it high enough for separation. Just 14 minutes elapsed between vehicle separation and the moment Unity’s wheels touched down again.
But it was 14 minutes of a “billion-dollar view,” according to in-flight audio included in the released footage of flight highlights. At maximum speed, the pilots were flying at nearly three times the speed of sound.
On their way back down, the pilots celebrated their success with a victory roll, watching the Earth spin below them as they sped back to the ground.
via Space.com https://www.space.com
December 13, 2018 at 07:14PM