1. ITV Report

Virgin Galactic launch space tourism test flight

Virgin Galactic launches test flight for space tourism. Photo: Virgin Galactic

With just a year to go until the first commercial flight into outer space is scheduled for take off Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo has had a test run.

ITV News reporter Jacob Greaves on the launch:

The SpaceShipTwo reached an altitude of 69,000 feet (21,030 meters) over California earlier this week after it was dropped from a carrier aircraft and its rocket was ignited for a 20-second burn.

Two pilots and a flight test engineer were aboard as the craft reached a maximum speed of Mach 1.43, then glided to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port.

Both the altitude and speed exceeded marks set during the first rocket-powered flight last April.

Virgin Galactic plans to take paying passengers on suborbital flights that briefly enter space. The commercial spaceline is owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi's aabar Investments PJS.