The California-based space company Virgin Galactic confirmed the date for the next rocket-powered test flight of its spacecraft SpaceShipTwo Unity (VVS Unity).
Virgin Galactic scheduled the date for the test flight of its SpaceShipTwo Unity for May 22, 2021, subject to weather conditions and technical checks. The upcoming flight will assess the upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls as well as test the live stream capability from the spaceship. The company also aims to evaluate some elements of the customer cabin as well as test the upgrades which were done on VVS Unity to lower the impact of electromagnetic interference (EMI) levels.
According to the Virgin Galactic statement, VVS Unity mothership VMS Eve will take the spacecraft to an altitude of about 50,000 feet. In the framework of the NASA Flight Opportunities program, the rocket-powered space plane will be crewed by two pilots and carry research payloads. After the planned test flight, the Virgin Galactic team plans to complete an extensive data review and schedule further steps in the test flight program.
“Following a detailed inspection and thorough analysis of our mothership, Eve, we have cleared our Spaceflight System for our upcoming flight,” Michael Colglazier, the Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, was quoted saying in the company‘s statement.
“I want to thank our incredibly talented team of engineers, maintenance crew, quality inspectors, and support staff for their diligence and hard work, which is testament to our commitment to safety and the integrity of our flight test program.”
In February 2019, Virgin Galactic started modifications on VSS Unity, which included the installation of the commercial cabin as well as changes to its cockpit displays. The final modifications to the commercial cabin were completed in July 2020.