LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Virgin Galactic on Thursday said it expects to launch its first manned test flight from New Mexico into space.
The company’s spacecraft, VSS Unity, conducted two previous test flights from Mojave, California, before landing at Spaceport’s facilities in New Mexico. There are also non-powered gliders in test, and space travel is now scheduled between November 19 and 23.
Launched next year by billionaire founder Richard Branson, the space station will be the Virgin Galactic base for launching travelers on short voyages above Earth. The company did not announce a specific date for the event.
Unity is designed to carry a special carrier jet high beneath and release at high altitudes, where its rocket engine is ignited.
Suburban aircraft are designed to be flown at an altitude of at least 50 miles (80 km) before landing and landing on the runway.
In addition to passengers, Unity will be able to carry out small science experiments and do so on this month’s flight, which will generate some revenue through the NASA program.
The Virgin Galactic has advanced its second fleet in the planned fleet, and plans to launch it in the first quarter of 2021, CEO Michael Colglacier said in a statement.