Virgin Galactic has made history.
Their spacecraft reached space for the first time this December 13 thanks to its suborbital vehicle VSS Unity, during a test flight over the Mojave Desert, reaching an altitude of 82.7 kilometers.
As explained by Space.com, the altitude achieved is above the limit of 80 kilometers (50 miles) which it deems meets the requirement for spaceflight.
However, it’s still beneath the so-called “Karman Line” “100 kilometers (62 miles). The Karman line is an attempt to define a boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
The Fédération aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which is an international standard-setting and record-keeping body for aeronautics and astronautics, defines the Karman line as the altitude of 100 km (62 mi; 330,000 ft) above Earth’s sea level.
Other organizations do not use this definition.
The US Air Force and NASA define the limit to be 80 mi (130 km) above sea level for purposes of awarding personnel with outer space badges.
“Many of you will know how important the dream of space travel is to me personally. Ever since I watched the moon landings as a child I have looked up to the skies with wonder,” Branson said in a statement.
Lovely shot of takeoff! WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo take to the skies pic.twitter.com/JFcSDVB9jR
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) December 13, 2018
“We started Virgin nearly 50 years ago dreaming big and loving a challenge. Today, as I stood among a truly remarkable group of people with our eyes on the stars, we saw our biggest dream and our toughest challenge to date fulfilled. It was an indescribable feeling: joy, relief, exhilaration, and anticipation for what is yet to come.”
The VSS Unity was piloted by Mark ‘”Forger”‘ Stucky and Frederick “‘CJ”‘ Sturckow who landed safely on the ground about an hour after entering the cockpit.
According to reports from Virgin Galactic, at maximum speed, the pilots were flying at nearly three times the speed of sound.
Virgin Galactic aims to bring Space Flight to ordinary people.
According to the company, they ill offer suborbital flights on SpaceShipTwo (it carries eight people, two pilots, and six passengers) for $250,000 a seat.
Video Credit: Virgin Galactic.