Virgin Galactic has successfully flown founder Richard Branson into space for the first time.
The VSS Unity successfully reached space, completing the fourth rocket-powered spaceflight from the company.
The crew fulfilled a number of test objectives related to the cabin and customer experience, including evaluating the commercial customer cabin, the views of Earth from space, the conditions for conducting research and the effectiveness of the five-day pre-flight training program at Spaceport America.
Michael Colglazier, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, said: “Today is a landmark achievement for the company and a historic moment for the new commercial space industry.
“With each successful mission we are paving the way for the next generation of astronauts.
“I want to thank our talented team, including our pilots and crew, whose dedication and commitment made today possible.
“They are helping open the door for greater access to space – so it can be for the many and not just for the few.”
VSS Unity achieved a speed of Mach three after being released from the mothership, VMS Eve.
The vehicle reached space, at an altitude of 53.5 miles, before gliding smoothly to a runway landing at Spaceport America.
This moment for Virgin Galactic and Branson was witnessed by audiences around the world.
Branson said: “I have dreamt about this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for the view of Earth from space.
“We are at the vanguard of a new space age.”