Virgin spaceship’s first solo flight
HOLIDAYMAKERS are one small step closer to the stars after the world's first tourist rocket made a giant leap in its race to take people into space.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo yesterday completed its first manned glide flight in what company boss Sir Richard Branson described as "one of the most exciting days in the whole history of Virgin".
Until now the ship, designed to carry paying passengers into orbit, had only flown attached to the wing of its special jet-powered mother ship, dubbed WhiteKnightTwo.
But yesterday it was carried to an altitude of 45,000ft (13,715m) by the mother ship and released over California's Mojave Desert.