The world’s first commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic, has completed the first rocket-powered flight of its space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), as part of a final testing stage. The test was conducted by teams from Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic, and officially marks the entrance into the final testing prior to commercial service from Spaceport America in New Mexico. In light of Virgin Galactic’s latest ground breaking venture, Sir Richard Branson has set an end-year goal for the world’s first commercial space flight, with tickets estimated to cost a trifle fortune at US$200,000 a seat.
“The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date,” said Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson, who was on the ground in Mojave to witness the occasion. “For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.”