New Virgin Galactic Spaceship Presented
Richard Branson presented Virgin Galactic's new spaceship called "Unity" in California's Mohave desert. It is the successor of the SpaceShipTwo Enterprise, in which one pilot was killed when it broke apart in 2014.
The Unity will be carried to an altitude of about 16000 metres by a mother ship. Then it will fire its thrusters and carry passengers to the border of space, about 100 km above the surface of the Earth. After experiencing a few minutes of weightlessness the spacecraft will return to Earth and glide to a landing on a runway.
Virgin Galactic's new spacecraft will have two pilots and carry 6 passengers. The cost of a single flight is expected to be around $250,000. Up to now, hundreds of future space tourists have signed up for the first flight. Among the first people to travel on the new craft will be British physicist Stephen Hawking.
Virgin Galactic is in competition with other companies in the commercial space flight business. Blue Origin, founded by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, recently fired an unmanned spaceship into space and successfully landed a rocket on Earth.
For a long time, Richard Branson has been dreaming of sending passengers into space. Virgin Galactic has stated that it must test the new vehicle extensively before tourists can be sent to space safely.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo - Image: Jeff Foust
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- altitude = height
- border = where something begins or ends
- commercial = here: to make money by offering flights to private people
- competition = other companies that have the same goal
- craft = vehicle ; object that takes you to space
- extensively = here: to do something very much
- fire = bring to a place with a rocket
- found - founded = start something new
- experience = feel
- glide = float on the air; without the use of a motor
- physicist = person who studies or deals with physics
- present = show to the public
- runway= place where planes take off and land
- sign up = here: if you want to take part in something
- single = one
- spaceship = an object used for travel in space
- state = to say officially
- successfully = to achieve the results you have hoped for
- successor = something or someone that comes after something else
- surface = the top layer of something
- thruster = rocket used to push something to a place far away
- unmanned = without any people
- vehicle = machine used to transport people or things
- weightlessness = seeming to float in the air; without any weight