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In Pictures: Virgin Galactic's 1st Glide Flight of VSS Unity Spaceship

VSS Unity Is Going Solo

Virgin Galactic

The space tourism company Virgin Galactic performed its first glide flight test of the VSS Unity on Dec. 3, 2016. Here are the photos from the spaceship's run-up to its first solo flight. THIS PHOTO: Virgin Galactic's second SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, the VSS Unity, and its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft roll out to a runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 for Unity's first-ever solo glide test flight.

VSS Unity's First Glide Flight

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity soars on its first-ever glide flight on Dec. 3, 2016.

The Testing Road to Space

Virgin Galactic

These are the milestones that the private space tourism company Virgin Galactic plans to hit before taking paying customers on suborbital flights into space.

How Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Passenger Space Plane Works (Infographic)

Karl Tate, SPACE.com contributor

SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers up past 328,000 feet altitude (100 kilometers), the point where astronaut wings are awarded. See how Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo works in this SPACE.com infographic.

VSS Unity's 3rd Flight

Virgin Galactic

On. Nov. 3, Virgin Galactic's spaceship, the VSS Unity, flew for the third time before attempting its first glide flight test, though weather conditions prevented the actual drop test. WhiteKnightTwo, the aircraft that carried the VSS Unity to release altitude, makes its 216th flight in this photo.

Pre-flight checks

Virgin Galactic

Dave Mackay, the chief pilot at Virgin Galactic, performs pre-flight checks before the first glide flight attempt of the VSS Unity on Nov. 1, 2016.

SpaceShipTwo before Nov. 3 glide test flight

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic prepares for a second attempt at a glide test flight of the VSS Unity on Nov. 3, 2016. Weather postponed the glide test flight that was originally scheduled for Nov. 1, and ultimately delayed the Nov. 3 attempt as well.

VSS Unity pre-flight checks for Nov. 3 glide test

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic performs pre-flight checks on the VSS Unity before an attempted glide test flight on Nov. 2. Weather forced Virgin Galactic to delay the glide test.

VSS Unity and Mothership VMS Eve Take Off for Glide Test Flight

Virgin Galactic

VSS Unity and mothership VMS Eve shortly after takeoff on Nov. 1. The weather that day proved too windy for VSS Unity to detach and do a glide flight test, so that portion of the test flight was postponed.

VSS Unity and Mothership VMS Eve Take Off for Glide Test Flight

Virgin Galactic

VSS Unity and mothership VMS Eve shortly after takeoff on Nov. 1.

SpaceShipTwo Unity 1st Captive Flight

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic's second SpaceShipTwo, the VSS Unity, is seen during its first captive carry test flight with its mothership WhiteKnightTwo at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Sept. 8, 2016.

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