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.
A post shared by Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) on Feb 19, 2016 at 1:24pm PST
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.