The test flight was an unmitigated success. Image Credit: YouTube / Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic's new spaceplane blasted through the sky on Thursday after firing its rocket engine for the first time.
It's been a bumpy few years for Virgin Galactic, especially with the loss of its original SpaceShipTwo in October 2014 - an accident that not only claimed the life of a pilot, but also cast doubt on whether the company's lofty goal of carrying tourists in to space would ever happen at all.
Now though, at last, things are looking up thanks to the successful testing of Virgin's VSS Unity spaceplane which soared through the sky last week at speeds of up to 1,424 miles per hour.
The team were keen not to push the vehicle too hard, but it still performed impressively nonetheless.
Once commercial operations begin, which could happen before the year is out, Virgin Galactic will offer passengers the chance to reach an altitude of 62 miles - that's high enough to experience weightlessness and to see the Earth against the blackness of space.
At present there are over 500 bookings, each costing an eye-watering $250,000.
"Thrilling seeing our manned spaceship go supersonic for the first time," wrote founder Sir Richard Branson. "Lots of hard work to come and exciting days ahead as we get closer and closer to space."