Today, spaceflight company Virgin Galactic unveiled a new spaceplane. VSS Unity is the flashy new sibling of the VSS Enterprise, which was destroyed in a fatal accident in 2014. The company hopes to one day carry tourists into suborbital space.
Unity is not much different from her predecessor.
But one of the ship’s key improvements will prevent another disaster like the November 2014 accident that killed pilot Michael Alsbury.
At the time, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that Alsbury deployed a feathering re-entry system too early, and that Virgin Galactic hadn’t planned ahead for such human errors. The new spaceplane has safeguards in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again, and the company is emphasizing a renewed commitment to careful testing.
The new spaceplane shows that Virgin Galactic is not out of the private spaceflight game just yet. And they still have at least one willing customer: