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“Unity 22” mission

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

“Unity 22” mission:


Context:

“Unity 22” will be Virgin Galactic’s next rocket-powered test flight of its SpaceShip- VSS Unity.

 

About the mission:

As part of the mission, the crew will be flying to the edge of space on July 11 on board the ‘Unity’ rocket ship developed by Virgin Galactic.

This will be the 22nd mission for VSS Unity.

  • This will be Virgin Galactic’s fourth crewed spaceflight.
  • It will also be the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson, who will be testing out the private astronaut experience.

 

Objectives of the mission:

  • Unity 22 will focus on testing the cabin and customer experience.

Currently, two additional test flights remain before the Virgin Galactic plans to commence commercial service in 2022.

 

Significance for India:

Sirisha Bandla, an astronaut born in India, will be a part of the crew.

  • This is significant as she will be the third woman of Indian origin to go to space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
  • Rakesh Sharma is another Indian who went into space prior to Bandla.

 

Uniqueness of VSS Unity Spaceship:

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spacecraft are air-launched from beneath a carrier aircraft ‘White Knight Two’. The space vehicle can climb to an altitude of around 90 kilometres, enough to give passengers a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of Earth’s curvature from the edge of space.

 

Insta Curious: 

  1. Have you heard of New Shephard, a rocket system meant to take tourists to space? Read about this mission, Read here
  2. What altitude is considered the Edge of Space? Where is Karman Line? Read this to understand better.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the mission.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Similar missions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the mission.

Sources: the Hindu.