The qualities that are required to complete an incredible challenge are often the same as those needed to run an extraordinary business: resilience, courage, preparation, and a belief in the pursuit of the impossible. Nothing fuses these qualities together quite like our human spaceflight project based in Mojave. This weekend, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Galactic took another step forward in the flight test program when our spaceship VSS Unity completed her fifth flight test mission.
I arrived in Mojave before sunrise and met with the team before we joined a wonderful group of staff, families, children and space enthusiasts on the flight line. The enthusiasm was sky high as WhiteKnightTwo, piloted by Mike Masucci and Todd Ericson, and SpaceShipTwo, piloted by Mark “Forger” Stucky and Dave Mackay, took off. Virgin Galactic’s mated vehicles flew across the bright blue sky for about an hour. VSS Unity then detached and flew on her own in front of our team and their families. It was the fifth flight for Unity and the 216th for WhiteKnightTwo.
What made this glide flight test even more special was it being the first time that a spaceship built wholly by our manufacturing arm, The Spaceship Company, flew on her own. It was a special moment for me to be able to be there, surrounded by the people making this project happen.
After an inspiring day discussing courage and moral leadership in Rome, it was a thrill to return to Mojave where history is being made. Behind the innovation of our beautiful spaceship is the dedicated and hardworking people who have devoted years of their lives to build not one spaceship but to build and operate a commercial spaceline. Their everyday work is paving the way for everyday citizens to one day experience the thrills of SpaceShipTwo and views of our home planet from space.
Our latest test flight test is just one visible piece of evidence of the tremendous work that goes into fulfilling our shared dreams. Congratulations to all the team. Head over to Virgin Galactic’s blog for more information about the flight test program and everything else going on at the world’s first commercial spaceline.