The Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Unity launched from the Mojave test center in California and returned after a climb of 51 miles. Sir Richard Branson views this success as the basis to launch Space Tourism by March 2019 and he could be one of the passengers on that flight. He commented to a section of the media that it was a ‘historic occasion."

Sky News reports the carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo, released VSS Unity with two test pilots on board at an altitude of around eight miles.

The rocket plane re-entered the atmosphere at 2.5 times the speed of sound and landed a few minutes later. VSS Unity came back after an hour. Sir Richard himself was present with employees of the firm and their family members. One of the pilots, on landing, said it was an “incredible experience, being in space... and had the ride of a lifetime."

Space tourism will be a novelty

Virgin Galactic boss Sir Richard Branson is on cloud nine because he can lay claim to being the pioneer of space tourism.

If everything goes as per schedule, the first journey by the public to space will happen soon, with him as one of the passengers. There are others in the fray like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin but Sir Richard has a head start.

Incidentally, the design of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity is such that it can cater to commercial use unlike vehicles designed for research purposes.

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The successful flight of Unity is a significant milestone to a new beginning in space Travel. It opens the doors to space for non-astronauts and is the fulfilment of a promise made by Virgin Galactic more than a decade ago. There are people who have paid up to $250,000 and are waiting for the journey to start. They want to experience a few minutes of weightlessness, take in a view of the Earth from far above and feel like astronauts.

Virgin Galactic is on track

CNBC adds there were two pilots on board Virgin Galactic's spacecraft VSS Unity. They completed a successful flight to put Sir Richard Branson in an unassailable position in the field of space tourism. Saudi Arabia is interested in this project and could be an investor.

The company said the flight attained an altitude that qualifies the pilots as astronauts as per the standards followed by U.S.

military and NASA. Hence, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that the two pilots would be entitled to receive commercial astronaut wings. Space tourism has already caught the fancy of the people and there are many who want to experience the thrill of flying in space as astronauts do. Of course, astronauts have to perform specific tasks but tourists will enjoy the ride into space.

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