Mach 2 for Unity

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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity broke Mach 2 and set a new altitude record for the programme.
Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic’s commercial spacefflight ambitions took another step forward recently when SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity broke Mach 2 for the ffirst time. Released by its, WhiteKnightTwo VSS Eve carrier aircraft at 46,500ft above the Mojave Desert, pilots Dave Mackay and Mike Masucci engaged the vehicle’s rocket motor for a 42-second burn and pulled up into a near vertical climb towards the edge of Earth’s atmosphere at Mach 2.47 up to a height of 170,800ft, a new altitude record for the programme, before the aircraft descended and landed back at its Mojave Air and Space Sport base. Virgin Galactic is planning to begin commercial operations in 2019. Mark Broadbent