Commercial Spaceship in First Flight Test

MOJAVE, Calif., Oct. 11 (UPI) — A commercial suborbital spaceship made its first solo glide test from 45,000 feet to a landing at California’s Mojave Air Space Port, its developer said.

The Virgin Galactic space vehicle VSS Enterprise has had four previous flights attached to its WhiteKnightTwo mother ship, but the Sunday glide test was it first solo outing, Discovery News reported.

“This was one of the most exciting days in the whole history of Virgin,” company founder Richard Branson said in a statement.

“For the first time since we seriously began the project in 2004, I watched the world’s first manned commercial spaceship landing on the runway at Mojave Air and Space Port and it was a great moment,” Branson said.

With the glide flight completed, spaceship builder Scaled Composites says it will begin rocket-powered flights next year and test flights in space in late 2011 or early 2012.

Virgin Galactic is selling rides on the six-passenger, two-pilot ship for $200,000 and has received $50 million in deposits from 370 customers so far.

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