Mission official Enrico Palermo says it reached an altitude of 51 miles (82 kilometers) before beginning its gliding descent.
As for VSS Unity itself, Virgin Galactic confirmed at 16:14 UTC that the spacecraft had landed safely at Mojave Airport, a little over 10 minutes after touching space. We started Virgin almost 50 years ago dreaming big and loving a challenge, Branson said via a company-issued release.
Virgin Galactic's program created to kick off space tourism has just reached another milestone with a flight that nearly reached the edge of space.
Though Virgin Galactic will eventually serve as the space-tourism arm of CEO Richard Branson's aerospace empire, SpaceShipTwo was ferrying four payloads from NASA, meant to collect data to be used in the space agency's future missions. That's about a mile and a half past what the US government recognizes as the edge of space. That differs from a long-held view that the boundary is reached at 100 kilometers.
The test demonstrates significant progress toward the start of commercial flights that were promised more than a decade ago.
Though it just scratched the lowest edge of where many believe space begins, the launch had huge implications for a growing industry aiming to fly civilians on a regular basis. "There is no guarantee that everything will work perfectly first time and, like all programs seeking to take bold steps, we will inevitably have times when things don't go as planned". The VSS Unity then fired up its rocket engine and quickly traveled up and out of sight from a group of watchers on the ground.
The rocket motor burnt for 60 seconds and the aircraft travelled at 2.9 times the speed of sound in today's test flight.
Mourinho disappointed by fringe players in Valencia loss
They're world-class players. they've got ( Paul) Pogba , (Romelu) Lukaku, (Juan) Mata, (David) de Gea, they've got world-class players.
China behind Marriott hotel breach, may be preparing for more hacks
The revelation comes amid tensions between on-going tensions between the United States and China. This week, media reports from Reuters and The New York Times connected the breach.to Beijing.
China and U.S. discuss trade talks timetable
The US has a long list of complaints against China on intellectual property, forced technology transfers and industrial subsidies. However, the purchases would provide a goodwill gesture before the next round of US-China talks to change their terms of trade.
Sturckow, a former space shuttle pilot, will become the only person to be awarded astronaut wings from both NASA and the FAA. Then, about 43,000 feet in the air, VSS Unity's pilots commanded the plane's release.
More than 600 people have all bought tickets to be on the first round of commercial space flights in six-passenger rockets by Virgin for up to $250,000 (£200,000) a ticket.
Virgin Galactic has successfully sent a spacecraft to the edge of space. The prize was created to kick-start private development of rocket ships that would make spaceflight available to the public.
The founder has previously said his space tourism firm will hope to carry passengers beyond orbit next year - with him on the first flight.
But years passed, the program suffered delay after delay and in 2014, a fatal setback: The spacecraft came apart mid-flight, killing Michael Alsbury, the pilot. The co-pilot was killed but the injured pilot managed to survive a fall from high altitude with a parachute.
Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity comes in for a landing after its suborbital test flight on December 13, 2018, in Mojave, Calif. SpaceX's Elon Musk recently announced plans to take a wealthy Japanese entrepreneur and his friends on a trip around the moon.