A six person crew on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceship undertook a brief trip to the “edge of space” which is known as Suborbital Flight.
- Sirisha Bandla, an astronaut born in India, was a part of the crew.
- She was the third woman of Indian origin to go to space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
- Virgin Galactic is a British-American spaceflight company, operating in the United States.
- When an object travels at a horizontal speed of about 28,000 km/hr or more, it goes into orbit once it is above the atmosphere.
- The satellites need to reach that threshold speed (orbital velocity) in order to orbit Earth.
- Such a satellite would be accelerating towards the Earth due to gravity, but its horizontal movement is fast enough to offset the downward motion so that it moves along a circular path.
- Any object travelling slower than 28,000 km/hr must eventually return to Earth.
- Any object that launches to space but does reach sufficient horizontal velocity to stay in space falls back to Earth. Hence they fly in a suborbital trajectory.
- It means that while these vehicles will cross the ill-defined boundary of space, they will not be going fast enough to stay in space once they get there.