Saturday 23 February 2019 9:06 am

Virgin Galactic rocket reaches space for second time

Virgin Galactic reached space for the second time yesterday and broke its speed and altitude records, carrying three crew members.

Spaceship VSS Unity travelled at Mach 3.04 at 265,00ft in Virgin’s fifth supersonic rocket powered test flight in California.

Chief pilot Dave Mackay and co-pilot Michael “Sooch” Masucci became commercial astronauts and the 569th and 570th people in space, while Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses became the first woman to fly on board a commercial spaceship.

Moses was also the first person to float freely without restraints in weightlessness in space on a commercial rocket.

Sir Richard Branson said: “Flying the same vehicle safely to space and back twice in a little over two months, while at the same time expanding the flight envelope, is testament to the unique capability we have built up within the Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company organisations.

“I am immensely proud of everyone involved. Having Beth fly in the cabin today, starting to ensure that our customer journey is as flawless as the spaceship itself, brings a huge sense of anticipation and excitement to all of us here who are looking forward to experiencing space for ourselves. The next few months promise to be the most thrilling yet.”