Virgin Galactic rocket ship ascends from New Mexico

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic has made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle, as the company forges toward offering tourist flights to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Virgin Galactic announced the firing of VSS Unity’s rocket motor Saturday to hurtle the ship and two pilots toward space. A live NASA video feed estimated a top altitude of at least 50 miles and confirmed a landing later via radar. British billionaire and Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson confirmed in a Twitter post that the two pilots and a research payload belonging to NASA had reached space.

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