Yesterday, Virgin Galactic conducted the first crewed flight, with owner Richard Branson also on board, of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo spaceplane called VSS Unity. It took off connected to the mothership White Knight Two from Spaceport America in New Mexico and, at an altitude of 15,000 meters, VSS Unity was dropped and its engine took it to an altitude of approximately 86.2 kilometers (almost 283,000 feet), below the 100 kilometers of the Kármán Line that officially marks the border with space but above the 80 kilometers considered by some entities as that borderline.
Blogs about spaceplanes
It was yesterday morning in California when Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo spaceplane called VSS Unity took off connected to its White Knight Two mother ship from the Mojave Air and Space Port. Once reached 15,000 meters (about 43,000 feet) above sea level, VSS Unity was dropped and its engine brought it to an altitude of 82.7 kilometers (about 51.4 miles), below the 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the Kármán Line which officially marks the border with the space but above the 80 kilometers (50 miles) considered by some institutions as that borderline.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced the conclusions of the investigation on the incident that on October 31, 2014 caused the destruction of Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane SpaceShipTwo with the consequent death of its co-pilot and the injuring of its commander. It turned out that the co-pilot unlocked the braking system too early and the SpaceShipTwo design included no security system to avoid the catastrophic consequences of that mistake.