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00:00:00
>>
NOISE] S
ace tourism is now one step closer to becoming a reality, after the successful test flight from billionaire Richard Branson's space travel company, Virgin Galactic.>>
APPLAUSE
>> The Virgin passenger spacecraft became the first US commercial flight with humans aboard to reach space, since America's Shuttle program ended in 2011.
00:00:23
The spaceship two spacecraft took off Thursday morning from the Mojave air and space port, about 90 miles north of Los Angeles. And Branson watched with hundreds of spectators. Reuters' reporter, Eric Johnson was there.>> I was standing steps from Branson moments after he learned that the spaceship had crossed the 50 mile threshold he had been waiting for and actually reached the fringes of space.
00:00:46
He got visibly emotional, you could see the relief and joy in his face, and mixed emotions. At one point, he wiped a tear from his eye as he turned and hugged spectators, and hi-fived spectators.>> The plane reentered the atmosphere at 2.5 times the speed of sound and landed a few minutes later.
00:01:04
>> My best guess is that I'll be in space within a few months from now. Once there, 100% sure that every box is taped, then I plan to go up. And then we have 700 people who signed up to go into space, and we'll start sending those people to space.
00:01:22
>> The flight had two pilots on board, as well as a mannequin named Annie, as a stand-in passenger. The rocket was high enough for the pilots to experience weightlessness, and see the curvature of the planet. Billionaire businessmen from Branson to Jeff Bezos, to Elon Musk have been racing to offer space tourism to the wealthy.
00:01:42
Musk's SpaceX already hooked Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa to be the company's first passenger on a trip around the moon on its Big Falcon Rocket spaceship tentatively scheduled for 2023. Among those already signed up for Virgin Galactic, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber. It'll cost them 250 grand for a 90-minute thrill ride that could kick off as early as next year.