Flying at Mach 3 and reaching more than 55 miles above the Earth Saturday, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s private spaceship company Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (SPCE.N) completed its first manned space flight from its new home port in New Mexico.
This is a milestone in Branson’s near two-decades effort to create a commercial “spaceline” to take paying customers into outer space.
Touted as the first human spaceflight from the state, Branson’s SpaceShipTwo craft lifted off in the desert about 45 miles northeast of Las Cruces, New Mexico, about 10:35 a.m.
About 50 minutes later, traveling at more than 2,300 miles an hour, it reached a height NASA recognizes as space and attained suborbital flight status.
“Welcome to space” the company posted on Twitter.
Branson shared videos of the flight on social media and said on Twitter, “Delighted to be on the flightline to Virgin Galactic’s first human spaceflight from the majestic Spaceport America. “On the flight deck were CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay who reached space, while Kelly Latimer and Michael Masucci piloted a carrier plane that helped the craft lift off, the company said.