Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic VSS Unity spaceplane soared to the edge of space with a test passenger for the first time on Friday, bringing the company closer to its goal of suborbital flights for space tourists that ever before. Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, who will train future space tourists, joined the pilots onboard to evaluate the customer experience and cabin. “There’s a saying in aviation that the pilots have the best seat in the house, with the view up there. But today, I’m not sure,” said pilot David Mackay when asked about Moses. Read more for another video and additional information.
“The WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane took off soon after 8 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. It released the SpaceShipTwo passenger craft at an altitude of about 44,000 feet and then the spaceship was catapulted to 55 miles above Earth. Hundreds of spectators, including Virgin Galactic ticket holders and CEO George Whitesides, gathered on a clear morning in the desert to watch this latest test flight,” reports Reuters.