Several months after the WhiteKnightTwo (VMS Eve) made its first test flight to the stratosphere, the VSS Enterprise eight-person suborbital spaceship, which had remained attached to the mothership during that test flight, has made its own solo flight.
The VSS Enterprise, named after Star Trek‘s USS Enterprise, will be taking passengers, who will pony up $200,000 for the privilege, on short trips above the atmosphere.
“This was one of the most exciting days in the whole history of Virgin,” said Sir Richard Branson, who is bankrolling the project. “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.”
Virgin Galactic has already taken deposits from three hundred and seventy customers for the suborbital flight which will permit them to experience several minutes of weightlessness. Virgin Galactic expects to fly five hundred customers in its first year of operation.
The suborbital flights are expected to begin next year.