Richard Branson Reaches Edge Of Space And Returns Safely

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and his crew members reached the edge of space on his Virgin Galactic spacecraft and safely returned to Earth.

It makes him the first of the space tourism entrepreneurs to enjoy a successful flight to space.

Sir Richard Branson said, "I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space. We are at the vanguard of a new space age."

The spacecraft carried a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists, including the company's founder, Sir Richard Branson. Today's flight was the 22nd test flight of its Space Ship "VSS Unity" and the first test flight with a full crew in the cabin, Virgin Galactic Holdings said in a statement.

The other three mission specialists were Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Instructor; Colin Bennett, Lead Flight Operations Engineer; Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic.

According to Virgin Galactic Holdings, VSS Unity achieved a speed of Mach 3 after being released from the mothership, VMS Eve. Richard Branson and his crew members climbed 53.5 miles above the Earth's surface in the spacecraft.

The VSS Unity landed back at the Spaceport America facility in New Mexico after a journey lasting about an hour. The launch plane took off later than originally planned because of weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos will be flying into space on July 20. The brothers will be flying on the New Shepard spacecraft, which is made by Jeff's aerospace company Blue Origin. The brothers will join the winner of an auction of a seat aboard the spacecraft to participate in the flight.

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