Virgin Galactic Plane Skims Space in Historic Human Test Flight
Richard Branson's commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic literally soared to new heights during a Thursday morning test flight of its rocket-powered Spaceship Two space plane. It returned safely to Earth after the flight.
"SpaceShipTwo, welcome to space," the company tweeted during live coverage of the flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The space claim is a bit of a gray area.
SpaceShipTwo, named the VSS Unity, hitched a ride on Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo aircraft before separating and taking off under its own power. The winged spaceship reached 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers) above the surface of Earth and achieved a speed of Mach 2.9. The rocket motor burned for 60 seconds.
By Amanda Kooser, cnet