SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity arrives at Spaceport America aboard WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
by Douglas MessierManaging Editor
Four years after it was first rolled out, Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity left the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Thursday for its new home at in New Mexico, where it will undergo final flight testing and preparation for commercial suborbital space flights.
VSS Unity’s flight to Spaceport America aboard the WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve mother ship came just under a year after its second suborbital flight. Engineers in Mojave spent that time outfitting the spacecraft’s cabin with four passenger seats and implementing a weight optimization program to improve performance.
Virgin Chairman Richard Branson will be aboard the first commercial flight. The company is planning to conduct the flight on or before the billionaire’s 70th birthday on July 18.
In a press release, Virgin Galactic described the work that needs to be done before that can happen.
The relocation of VSS Unity to Spaceport America enables the Company to engage in the final stages of its flight test program. This will begin with a number of initial captive carry and glide flights from the new operating base in New Mexico, ...