The VSS Unity spaceplane took Virgin Galactic company tycoon and founder Richard Branson into suborbital space. The historic launch took place at the Las Cruces space base in New Mexico.
The mothership VMS Eve carried VSS Unity about 10 miles above sea level. The plane then rose to an altitude of 88.5 kilometers. The four crew members of the ship enjoyed several minutes of weightlessness, after which they returned to Earth. For this, the VSS Unity raised its wings like a badminton feather to reorient itself to the descent and at about 15,000 meters it returned them to their normal configuration to perform a dynamic slide that concluded with a soft landing on the Spaceport America runway.
Branson was accompanied on this flight by VSS Unity pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, engineers Colin Bennett and Beth Moses, as well as Virgin Galactic Vice President Sirisha Bandla. One of the main objectives of the mission was to evaluate the experiences that future space tourists will have, including the conditions of the cabin or the comfort of the seats.
This was the twenty-second test for VSS Unity and the first flight to have a full crew on board. In 2018, Branson's company achieved a historic milestone after one of its planes managed to reach space.