Virgin Galactic rocket ship ascends from New Mexico

Virgin Galactic pilots walk to the company’s SpaceShipTwo Unity spacecraft, attached to the jet carrier aircraft Eve. (Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic has made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle, as the company forges toward offering tourist flights to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Posted: May 22, 2021 4:26 PM
Updated: May 22, 2021 4:28 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic has made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle, as the company forges toward offering tourist flights to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Virgin Galactic announced the firing of VSS Unity’s rocket motor Saturday to hurtle the ship and two pilots toward space. British billionaire and Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson says the flight and landing bring the venture tantalizingly close to commercial flights for tourists. Saturday's flight tested new flight controls and included a scientific payload. At least two more tests are planned before tourists take flight.

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