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Runway opens at world’s first spaceport

October 23, 2010
"People are beginning to believe now. I think the drop flight two weeks ago, which went beautifully, I think it made people sit up and realize this is really reality."
- Sir Richard Branson

Commercial space travel took a step closer with the opening of the runway at the world's first spaceport in the US state of New Mexico.

The event was marked with a flypast of an aircraft carrying SpaceShip Two.

The vehicle has been designed to take fee-paying tourists on trips to the edge of space and back.

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson - whose Virgin group has backed the venture - said the first passenger trip should take place within 18 months.

In terms of carbon footprint, current calculations suggest that emissions per passenger, per trip, will be approximately 0.8 tonnes - less than a one-way flight from London to New York.

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