Branson’s Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space

(BBC) – The latest test flight by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic successfully rocketed to the edge of space and back.

The firm’s SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship reached a height of 82.7km, beyond the altitude at which Nasa considers space to begin.

It marked the plane’s fourth test flight and followed earlier setbacks in the firm’s space programme.

Sir Richard is in a race with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to send the first fee-paying passengers into space.

He founded the commercial spaceflight company in 2004, shortly after Mr Musk started SpaceX and Jeff Bezos established Blue Origin.

In 2008, Virgin Galactic first promised sub-orbital spaceflight trips for tourists would be taking place “within 18 months”. It has since regularly made similar promises to have space flights airborne in the near future.