Washington Post

Virgin Galactic reaches space and is one step closer to space tourism

Workers at the Virgin Galactic headquarters work on a spaceplane that is scheduled to launch on Thursday. Foto: Washington Post photo by Jonathan Newton.

MOJAVE, Calif. - Virgin Galactic launched a spacecraft more than 50 miles high Thursday, reaching the Federal Aviation Administration's definition of space and capturing a long-elusive goal for the company founded by Richard Branson that one day wants to fly tourists through the atmosphere.

Though it did not reach orbit, the flight was the first launch of a spacecraft from United States soil with humans on board to reach the edge of space since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011. And it effectively opens a new era in human spaceflight, one where companies are working to end governments' long held monopoly on space, aiming to push farther faster...

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