Virgin Galactic Reaches Space

Ed Note: Virgin Galactic has long planned to launch tourists into space from Spaceport America, east of Truth or Consequences.

It took more than a decade, costing hundreds of millions of dollars and the lives of fouremployees along the way, but Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo — a vehicle the company plans to use to shuttle paying customers into space from New Mexico — reached suborbital space for the first time on Thursday.

It was a huge milestone for Virgin Galactic and New Mexico, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Spaceport America — a spaceport the state built from the ground up in the desert northeast of Las Cruces in the hopes of creating a commercial space hub and a stronger economy.

Many were quick to celebrate after Virgin Galactic announced Thursday’s milestone — an altitude of 51.4 miles, which meets one definition of reaching space — with a simple tweet: “SpaceShipTwo, welcome to space.”

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