Per NASA’s statement:
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo successfully flew to suborbital space Dec. 13 with four NASA-supported technology payloads onboard. The rocket motor burned for 60 seconds, taking the piloted spacecraft and payloads beyond the mission’s 50-mile altitude target.
“The anticipated addition of SpaceShipTwo to a growing list of commercial vehicles supporting suborbital research is exciting,” said Ryan Dibley, Flight Opportunities campaign manager at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. “Inexpensive access to suborbital space greatly benefits the technology research and broader spaceflight communities.”
NASA’s investment in the growing suborbital space industry and strong economy in low-Earth orbit allows the agency to focus on farther horizons. NASA will venture forward to the Moon – this time to stay, in a measured, sustainable fashion – in order to develop new opportunities and prepare for astronauts to explore Mars.
Watch this unusual flight take off in the video below: