Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Space Trip Delayed Slightly by Weather

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The Wall Street Journal 11 July, 2021 - 07:48am 28 views

Where Will Richard Branson launch from?

Branson, two company pilots and three Virgin Galactic crewmates are launching from Spaceport America, near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on what's expected to be at least an hour-long flight, reaching altitudes a little over 50 miles above the Earth. CBS NewsWatch Live: Richard Branson launching to space aboard Virgin Galactic rocket plane

Where is Virgin Galactic located?

Virgin Galactic's Spaceport is located near Truth or Consequences, N.M. Virgin Galactic, which went public last year, is also a huge favorite among retail investors, with news flow this year generating huge swings in its stock price, which has more than doubled in 2021. The Wall Street JournalRichard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Space Flight: What You Need to Know

When is the Virgin Galactic flight?

On July 11, Virgin Galactic will make a giant leap toward commercial suborbital spaceflight. The company will launch its first fully crewed flight of its SpaceShipTwo space plane Unity with a special passenger on board: the company's billionaire founder Richard Branson. Space.comVirgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Unity 22 launch with Richard Branson: Here's when to watch and what to know.

What time is Virgin Galactic launch tomorrow?

Virgin Galactic is set to launch its first passengers to space tomorrow morning, and you can watch the whole thing right here. The launch is scheduled for 6 AM Pacific, with streaming festivities (including commentary by Stephen Colbert) starting on the hour. TechCrunchWatch live as Virgin Galactic’s first passenger flight takes off with Richard Branson on board

The flight, originally scheduled for 9 a.m. ET, was delayed 90 minutes on Sunday because of weather overnight at the launch facility in New Mexico. The launch is now scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET.

At that time, a high-flying Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. airplane is expected to take off from the Spaceport America facility near Truth or Consequences. The plane, called the VMS Eve, will carry the spacecraft VSS Unity, which will include Mr. Branson and five others.

The plane will take the spacecraft about 8.5 miles above Earth before releasing Unity about an hour after takeoff. The spacecraft will then rocket to an altitude of more than 50 miles.

The spacecraft is expected to land back in New Mexico shortly after 11:30 a.m. ET, gliding down for a runway landing.

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Just What Is a Suborbital Flight Anyway?

ScienceAlert 11 July, 2021 - 08:01am

But what exactly is "suborbital"? Simply put, it means that while these vehicles will cross the ill-defined boundary of space, they will not be going fast enough to stay in space once they get there.

If a spacecraft – or anything else, for that matter – reaches a speed of 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h) or more, instead of falling back to the ground, it will continuously fall around the Earth. That continuous falling is what it means to be in orbit and is how satellites and the Moon stay above Earth.

Anything that launches to space but does not have sufficient horizontal velocity to stay in space – like these rockets – comes back to Earth and therefore flies a suborbital trajectory.

Although the two spacecraft launched in July 2021 will not reach orbit, the accomplishment of reaching space in private spacecraft is a major milestone in the history of humanity.

Those aboard these and all future private-sector, suborbital flights will for a few minutes be in space, experience a few minutes of exhilarating weightlessness and absolutely earn their astronaut wings.

Conceptually, the flights that Branson and Bezos will be on are not terribly different from a baseball thrown into the air.

The faster you can throw the baseball upward, the higher it will go and the longer it will stay in the air. If you throw the ball with a bit of sideways velocity as well, it will go farther down-range.

Imagine throwing your baseball in an open field. As the ball rises, it slows down, as the kinetic energy inherent in its velocity is exchanged for potential energy in the form of increased altitude.

Eventually, the ball will reach its maximum height and then fall back to the ground.

Now imagine that you could throw the baseball fast enough to reach a height of perhaps 60 miles (97 km). Presto! The baseball has reached space. But when the ball reaches its maximum height, it will have zero vertical velocity and start to fall back to Earth.

The flight may take several minutes, and during most of that time, the ball would experience near weightlessness – as will the newly minted astronauts aboard these spacecraft. Just like the hypothetical baseball, the astronauts will reach space but won't enter orbit, so their flights will be suborbital.

Richard Branson Virgin Galactic

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