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You are here News Science Virgin Galactic space plane carrying billionaire adventurer Richard Branson reaches edge of space, returns safely

Virgin Galactic space plane carrying billionaire adventurer Richard Branson reaches edge of space, returns safely

Richard Branson space flightBillionaire entrepreneur and adventurer Richard Branson's dream of space travel was realized and celestial tourism took a leap forward Sunday as Virgin Galactic's rocket ship reached the edge of space during a historic flight from Spaceport America.

Branson and his crew experienced about four minutes of weightlessness before their space plane smoothly glided to a runway landing. The entire trip, delayed 90 minutes because of bad weather the previous night, lasted about an hour.

“Seventeen years of hard work to get us this far,” Branson said as he congratulated his team on the trip back.

Branson, who turns 71 this week, and a crew of two pilots and three mission specialists were carried to an altitude of more than eight miles by the aircraft VMS Eve, named after Branson's mother. Live video then showed the space plane VSS Unity release from the mother ship's twin fuselages, using rocket power to fly to the boundary of space, more than 50 miles above the Earth.

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