Richard Branson's commercial space flight venture Virgin Galactic announced the completion of the first piloted free flight of SpaceShipTwo, named the VSS Enterprise. The VSS Enterprise was released from its mothership at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700m). During its first flight the spaceship was piloted by Pete Siebold, assisted by Mike Alsbury as co-pilot. The two main goals of the flight were to carry out a clean release of the spaceship from its mothership and for the pilots to free fly and glide back and land at Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, who was present during the first successful flight, added “This was one of the most exciting days in the whole history of Virgin. For the first time since we seriously began the project in 2004, I watched the world’s first manned commercial spaceship landing on the runway at Mojave Air and Space Port and it was a great moment. Now, the sky is no longer the limit and we will begin the process of pushing beyond to the final frontier of space itself over the next year.”
Virgin Galactic thinks they still will become the world’s first commercial space line. They already have 370 customer deposits totalling $50 million. Did you buy your ticket yet?