In full: Sir Richard Branson launches Virgin Galactic rocket to the edge of space

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Sir Richard Branson’s private space tourism company has completed its first flight carrying the billionaire, two pilots, and three mission specialists to the fringes of space.

The VSS Unity spaceplane was launched in mid-air after dropping from the belly of its mothership at an altitude of about 9.4 miles (15km) before its rocket fires the craft and its crew into sub-orbital space at least 50 miles (80km) above the Earth.

The British entrepreneur announced his plan to reach space nine days before Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is set to launch aboard his own mission. Although there are questions about whether Virgin Galactic’s maximum altitude of 80km actually qualifies as space.

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