Virgin Galactic historic space flight launched Sunday

  • Richard Branson is accompanied by two pilots and three mission specialists.
  • Branson, who turns 71 in a week, had originally planned the flight for later this summer.
  • Virgin Galactic has plans for two more test flights before commercial service begins in 2022.

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. – Billionaire adventurer Richard Branson’s dream of space travel was being realized Sunday as Virgin Galactic’s space plane lifted off Sunday on a historic spaceflight from Spaceport America in Sierra County, New Mexico.

The flight, delayed 90 minutes, was expect to last about an hour.

Branson, who turns 71 this week, and a crew of two pilots and three mission specialists after being carried to high altitude by the aircraft VMS Eve, named after Branson’s mother. The space plane VSS Unity will then launch from Eve, using rocket power to fly to the boundary of space.

Virgin Galactic and founder Branson had planned the flight for later this summer but moved it up after competitor Blue Origin and its founder, Jeff Bezos, announced plans to ride their rocket into space from West Texas on July 20. 

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