When (after launching the mothership) is the VSS Unity dropped from the mothership and at which altitude? I mean in space flights (above 80 km)

More or less, of course


2 Answers 2


WhiteKnightTwo uneventfully carried SpaceShipTwo to a release altitude of approximately 47,000 feet MSL.

NTSB Accident Report - Virgin Galactic Party Submission

The flight in the report lifted off at 09:19:30 PDT and released SpaceShipTwo at 10:07:19.27 PDT.

  • $\begingroup$ So at 48 min and 14 km.. Interesting, thanks. And how long it takes the whole flight? $\endgroup$
    – Joe Jobs
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 16:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Sounds like a new question. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ The link has broken, and I can't easily find a replacement. I found this accident report on the NTSB website, but it doesn't appear to be the document you quoted from. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSeifert well, that's annoying! I used it for another answer as well. Thanks for letting me know, I fixed the link. It's a bit weird though - it's a pdf but they have it tagged as html. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 15:25

Looks like there is a bit of variance in the altitude at which the VMS Eve mothership releases the VSS Unity spacecraft.


On 13 December 2018, at an altitude of 43,000 ft (13,000 m), the VMS Eve released the VSS Unity for its fourth powered test flight.


Things went smoothly enough early on. Unity lifted off beneath the wings of VMS Eve, its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, around 10:24 a.m. EST (1524 GMT; 8:24 a.m. local New Mexico time [2020-12-12]). And Eve dropped Unity on schedule, at an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters).

https://www.topgear.com/car-news/big-reads/behind-scenes-virgin-galactic (mirror):

WhiteKnight, the mothership, that will take Unity and its cargo of future astronauts to 14,600m before releasing her to cover the remaining distance on rocket power.


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