Virgin Galactic’s last flight before a two-year hiatus

Virgin Galactics last flight before a two year hiatus

The space tourism company Virgin Galactic made its last flight on Saturday June 8 before a two-year break. The VSS Unity took four passengers and two pilots for a short trip into space. The company wants to give itself time to develop a new fleet with the hope of finally making money.

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8:30 a.m. local time, the carrier plane takes off from New Mexico in the southern United States, taking with it the space shuttle and the six people on board.

Arriving at an altitude of 45,000 feet, the VSS Unity detaches and fires its engine for a vertical ascent to the limits of space, 80 kilometers above the ground.

For a few minutes, the four passengers, Turkish astronaut Tuva Atasever who will carry out several experiments and three tourists: two Americans and an Italian float in weightlessness before the shuttle glides to the ground.

This is the 12th time that Virgin Galactic, founded by billionaire Richard Branson in 2004, has sent passengers into space, but the company remains far from achieving profitability, having lost more than $200 million in the last six months, and separated from almost one employee in 5.

This break should allow it to develop the Delta fleet which will succeed Unity; the new shuttles will be able to transport six passengers at $600,000 per ticket for 125 flights per year.

The first takeoffs are planned for 2026.

Virgin Galactic no longer has the right to make mistakes, especially since it now has competition: Blue Origin, the company of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, resumed flights in May.

Read alsoVirgin Galactic, Blue Origin, Space X: tourism projects taking on the stars