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Branson’s Virgin Galactic Returns to Space in Crucial Test

  • Company sends crew of six employees to the edge of space
  • Start of commercial space flights planned for next month
Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity
Virgin Galactic's VSS UnitySource: Virgin Galactic
Updated on

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., the space-tourism company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, sent a crewed flight to the edge of space for the first time in almost two years, a crucial milestone in its plans to begin commercial service next month.

The flight, called Unity 25, took off at about 9:15 a.m. local time Thursday from New Mexico with two seasoned pilots and four passengers — all Virgin Galactic employees. The VSS Unity spacecraft detached from the carrier plane about an hour later and reached space before returning to Earth.