This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, successfully reached space on Friday for the second time.

The company launched another sub-orbital test flight of its SpaceShipTwo out of the Mojave Desert Air and Space Port (MHV). SpaceShipTwo, which was launched by its mothership WhiteKnightTwo, reached an altitude of 295,007 feet, or 55.87 miles above Earth’s surface, and reached Mach 3 speeds — that’s three times faster than the speed of sound.

At that altitude and speed, humans would be able to see the curvature of the Earth and experience weightlessness.

Not only was the test flight noteworthy because it was a successful step toward bringing paying astronaut tourists to the edge of space, but it was also the first time that a third crew member — in addition to the two pilots — rode along on the launch.

Virgin Galactic’s Beth Moses was on board SpaceShipTwo during Friday’s flight. She is the company’s Chief Astronaut Instructor, and part of her job is to test and verify the flight cabin experience and “spaceflight environment” for its commercial flights. Virgin Galactic will fly as many as six passengers at a time in the back cabin of its space ship. Customers will pay $250,000 to hitch a ride to the final frontier, and part of that fee also goes toward basic astronaut training. The company already has at least 750 passengers who have signed up and paid to be launched to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere.

Richard Branson said he will be launched into space before Virgin Atlantic’s customer flights begin. Earlier this month, Branson hinted that his first space flight might take place on his birthday in July, which is also the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission.

“So yeah, July the 18th is my birthday so why not?” he told ABC News of his plans to board the rocket ship. “We’ll go for that.”

The company first successfully reached space in a test flight in December 2018.

Featured photo of SpaceShipTwo in the Mojave Desert by Virgin Galactic via Twitter.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.