Historic flight Virgin Galactic has reminded us that “space” does not exist

Just today, Virgin Galactic sent its commercial apparatus SpaceShipTwo into space for the first time for yourself. But once at the maximum height 82,68 kilometers, the spacecraft did not reach 17.32 kilometers to the line of Pocket — which is recognized by the world as the boundary separating the atmosphere from outer space. The question arises: what is space? Before we decompose the achievement of Virgin Galactic apart, let’s give credit to the company. This was not easy.

After 14 years of development and the tragic failures that led to the death of a test pilot in 2014, Virgin Galactic finally reached space. Or, at least, called the agreement reached space.

Virgin Galactic and neocosmos

Today over California’s Mojave desert SpaceShipTwo Virgin Galactic (aka VSS Unity) peaked in 82,68 miles — so said Virgin Galactic. This is the first space flight for the spacecraft for Virgin Galactic and, oddly enough, the first space flight involving human launched from American soil since the last space Shuttle mission in 2011. Moreover, since all this was carried out with the support of the NASA Flight Opportunities Program (aboard the Unity was four space scientific and technical experiment), and it was the first flight of Virgin Galactic with the generation of profit.

Aircraft WhiteKnightTwo released Unity at a height of about 13.1 kilometers at approximately 10:11 a.m. local time. Separated from the mother ship, suborbital transport activated rocket engines for 60 seconds and reached a peak speed of Mach 3.9. The mission statements on the Ground congratulated the pilots, saying: “unity, welcome to the cosmos”. Photos taken aboard Unity, show the blackness of space and the expressive curve of the Earth.

The machine achieved a speed of 2.5 Mach during reentry using their advanced configuration “feathers”, when the tail wings are at an angle to create resistance, like a shuttlecock for badminton. 11:11 the mission was Serena and the car landed safely on runway in air and space port in Mojave.

Mark Stuckey and Frederick stark officially became astronauts. Anyway, deserved such recognition from NASA and the US military.

For the owner of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson this moment was the one he was waiting for a very long time.

But did VSS Unity of the cosmos, really? Depends on who you ask.

In the United States Federal aviation administration (FAA) recognizes the border 80 kilometers above the Earth. Virgin noted that the FAA will award the pilots “wings astronauts.” The border, of course, slightly arbitrary, however, lies between the mesosphere and the thermosphere is a kind of boundary line of the atmosphere.

But there is a line of Pocket, according to which space begins at 100 kilometers above the Earth. This demarcation line recognized by the International Federation of standards that are involved in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Remarkably, the line of his boundary, for recognized competitions Ansari X Prize, which was won by Scaled Composites and its SpaceShipOne in 2004. At this boundary, close to the bottom of the thermosphere, the atmosphere is so thin that the principles of Aeronautics is no longer applicable, and the apparatus at this altitude needs to move faster to gain traction.

This boundary is also calculated very close to the mark of 100 kilometers, so here is the line of the Pocket.

To further complicate the situation, recent recalculations made by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian center for astrophysics, show that the line of the Pocket is actually closer to the Earth at 20 kilometers. If the calculations McDowell will be adopted, the boundary will be closer to 80 km, and thus closer to the border recognized by the FAA.

Do not forget about the expectations of people. For potential space tourists, these boundaries can be meaningless if their desires are not met. In suborbital flights, like these, the spacecraft spends practically no time in space, and the passengers no opportunity to float freely in microgravity. Future SpaceShipTwo passengers will have to settle for an excellent overview and technical definition of “space”.

But that does not stop Virgin Galactic. The company has not yet announced the date of commencement of commercial flights on SpaceShipTwo, but today’s launch represents an important step in this direction. So far more than 600 people were queued up for the flight, buying a ticket for $ 250,000. To see the similarity space.

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