Virgin Galactic Pulls Off First Successful Rocket-Powered FlightS

Virgin Galactic, the space-tourism business launched by ruddy cartoon businessman Richard Branson, pulled off its first successful rocket-powered flight yesterday, bringing the world one step closer to a future in which rich people can go to space, for a little while.

SpaceShipTwo, the six-passenger ship that Virgin Galactic will eventually fly out of the atmosphere for $200,000 a pop, was dropped from its carrier aircraft at 46,000 feet. It ignited its rocket engine, reaching supersonic speeds, and climbed 10,000 feet. Branson described it as "stunning," which, well... it kind of actually was.

[Reuters]