The historic flight of Virgin Galactic has reminded us that "space" does not exist

Just today, Virgin Galactic has sent its commercial unit SpaceShipTwo into space for the first time for yourself. But once on the maximum height of 82, 68 kilometers, the spaceship has not reached 17, 32 kilometers to the Karman line - which is recognized by the world as the boundary that separates the atmosphere from space. The question arises: what is all the space? Before we expand the achievement of Virgin Galactic to pieces, let us pay tribute. Make it was not easy.

The historic flight of Virgin Galactic has reminded us that

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

Virgin Galactic and nedokosmos

Today, on the Californian Mojave Desert SpaceShipTwo company Virgin Galactic (aka VSS Unity) reached its apogee in the 82, 68 kilometers away - so said Virgin Galactic. It is the first space flight for Virgin Galactic apparatus and, oddly enough, the first space flight on human running with the American land since the last space shuttle mission in 2011. Moreover, since all this was supported by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program (on board the Unity had four space science and technology of the experiment), and it was the first flight of Virgin Galactic with the generation of profits.

WhiteKnightTwo plane Unity released at an altitude of about 13 km approximately 1 at 10:11 am local time. Separated from the mother ship, transport suborbital rocket engines activated for 60 seconds and reached a peak velocity of 3, 9 Mach. Mission operators in the world have congratulated the pilots, saying: "Unity, welcome to space." Photos taken with Unity board, show the blackness of space and the expressive curve of the Earth. Apparatus reached a speed of 2, 5 Mach during reentry using its advanced configuration "tail" when the tail wings are at an angle to create a resistance, like for badminton shuttlecock. By 11:11 the mission has been completed and the car landed safely on runway in aerospace port Mojave.

Mark Stuckey and Frederick Starks officially become astronauts. In any case, it deserves such recognition from NASA and the US military.

For Virgin Galactic owner Richard Branson that moment became that he had been waiting a very long time.

But if VSS Unity space reached in reality? It depends on who you ask.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognize the border 80 kilometers above the Earth. Virgin said that the FAA will award the pilots' wings astronauts. " Border, of course, a little arbitrary, but lies between the mesosphere and the thermosphere - a kind of boundary line of the atmosphere.

But there is a line of Karman, according to which space begins 100 km above Earth. This demarcation line is recognized by the International Federation of Standards, which is involved in aeronautics and astronautics. Remarkably, the Karman line has been recognized borders for the competition Ansari X Prize, which was won by Scaled Composites and its SpaceShipOne in 2004. On this border, close to the lower part of the thermosphere, the atmosphere is so thin that the principles of aeronautics no longer apply, and the device at a height must move quickly to gain traction.

This boundary is also designed very close to the mark of 100 kilometers, so it is here that goes Karman line. To further complicate matters, the recent recalculations made by Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, shows that the Karman line is actually closer to the Earth at 20 kilometers. If McDowell calculations are taken, the border will be closer to 80 kilometers, and therefore closer to the border recognized by the FAA.

Do not forget about the people's expectations. For potential space tourists, these boundaries may be meaningless if their desires are not fulfilled. The suborbital flights, such as these, the spacecraft spends virtually no time in space, and ensure there is no possibility to freely float in microgravity. Future SpaceShipTwo passengers will have to settle for an excellent overview and a technical definition of "space."

But it does not stop Virgin Galactic. The company has not yet announced the date of the start of commercial flights on SpaceShipTwo, but today's launch represents an important step in this direction. So far, over 600 people signed up in the queue for the flight by purchasing a ticket for $ 250 000. To see the similarity space.

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