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MOJAVE, Calif. — With a first flight to the edge of space under the company’s belt, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson believes commercial flights of SpaceShipTwo could begin some time next year.
An exuberant Branson took the stage at the Mojave Air and Space Port here to congratulate the company and its employees for a successful test flight Dec. 13 of the SpaceShipTwo vehicle named VSS Unity, which reached a peak altitude of 82.7 kilometers. The flight was the first by the vehicle to cross the boundary of 50 miles, or approximately 80 kilometers, that U.S. government agencies use to award astronaut wings.
“How on Earth do I describe the feeling?” he said on stage, referring to his emotions from watching the successful test flight. “Joy? Definitely. Relief? Emphatically. Exhiliaration? Absolutely.”