The Virgin Galactic supersonic space plane climbed to the height of the earth's atmosphere on Thursday, suggesting that the company is not far from sending tourists to space.
The manual drive, VSS Unity, was run by two veteran pilots at the highest altitude of 82.7 kilometers and exceeded the 80-kilometer mark recognized by the United States government as the boundary of the space. The 80-kilometer mark is used for placing astronaut wings.
He took the test flight from the Mojave Air & Space port in California at 7:11 pm PT. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, was initially watched by a crowd of viewers.
"I hope we go into space today," he said before the flight.
It was the fourth motorized test flight for VSS Unity and the closest to date to imitate the flight path that one day expects on commercial missions.
His success means that the company could only have a few months left from preparing its first group of tourists, the goal in which Virgin Galactic has been working for 14 years.
Instead of striving for space using a NASA-style rocket, Virgin Galactic uses a spacecraft powered by missiles called VSS Unity, a ship more comparable to controlled X-planes developed by the US military.
More news on MSN:
Space tourism is approaching big steps and here we tell you everything you need to know about it. Gallery Espresso