Virgin Galactic Celebrates ‘Breathtaking’ Spaceship Test Flight

May 30, 2018 7:09 am Last Updated: May 30, 2018 7:09 am

Virgin Galactic is celebrating the second test flight of its rocket-powered craft that the company hopes will someday take tourists to space.

VSS Unity fired its rocket propulsion system for 31 seconds and climbed to an altitude of 114,500 feet (34,899 meters) in the skies over California.

The spacecraft hit a top speed of Mach 1.9 (almost 1300 miles per hour), before coming in for a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port on Tuesday, May 29.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson was present to witness the test flight and greet crews.

“It was great to see our beautiful spaceship back in the air and to share the moment with the talented team who are taking us, step by step, to space,” said Virgin founder Richard Branson in a press release. “Seeing Unity soar upwards at supersonic speeds is inspiring and absolutely breathtaking. We are getting ever closer to realizing our goals. Congratulations to the whole team!”

Unity’s first powered flight took place on April 5. Since then, according to TechCrunch, significant improvements have been made to the spaceship’s design.

The craft can reportedly reach speeds twice as high as the ones reached during  Tuesday’s test flight.