(CelebrityAccess) — Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Galactic, took part in a sub-orbital test flight intended to demonstrate that his company’s spaceplane is ready to begin ferrying deep-pocketed adventures on space adventures.
The spaceplane carried Branson, who is 70, and a crew of five to an altitude of 50 miles, providing about three minutes of weightlessness and a view of the earth that has only been seen in person by a select few before returning to earth to land at Virgin Galactic’s launch facility in New Mexico.
“I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid but honestly, nothing could prepare you for the view of Earth from space,” Branson said after landing. “It was just magical.”
Unlike a traditional ground-launched rocket, the spaceplane piggybacked on Virgin’s twin-fuselage carrier jet to get airborne and then used rocket engines to propel itself into space before re-entering the earth’s atmosphere to glide to a landing.
Branson’s aeronautical feat trumped his fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, who is planning his own spaceflight later this month.
After Branson landed, Bezos acknowledged the feat, taking to social media to write: “congratulations on the flight. Can’t wait to join the club!”