By Amy Rosner By Amy Rosner | July 12, 2021 | National
Richard Branson really is out of this world.
Virgin Galactic founder, Richard Branson, successfully soared into outer space on a rocket he helped fund.
Early Sunday morning, the SpaceShipTwo blasted into the sky over New Mexico, carrying Branson and three fellow employees, Beth Moses, Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla.
This space tourism company has been developing this winged, single-rocket powered, supersonic space plane for nearly two decades.
As of the crack of dawn on Sunday July 11th, Virgin Galactic was one step closer to completing their mission of making space travel more accessible—but this near out-of-body experience comes with a high price tag.
The SpaceShipTwo could not have completed this journey alone. Attached beneath its massive mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, the rocket soared into the sky at 8:30 am MT and reached the unimaginable height of 50,000 feet in the air.
At around 9:15 am, The SpaceShipTwo detached from its mothership and passengers experienced three G’s of force and extreme acceleration.
In the blink of an eye, Branson and crew witnessed something magical: the convergence of the bright blue sky and the starry darkness of outer space.
"To all you kids down there..." - @RichardBranson's message from zero gravity. #Unity22— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) July 11, 2021
Watch the livestream: https://t.co/5UalYT7Hjb pic.twitter.com/lYXHNsDQcU
At the peak of the flight path, passengers underwent a period of weightlessness for a few breath-taking moments. In that time, the Virgin Galactic team enjoyed panoramic views of Earth and space simultaneously.
After being suspended into weightlessness, and moments of pure euphoria, the ship turned rightward and headed back into Earth’s thick atmosphere—and reality.
Photography by: Griffin Lipson