(CNBC) Virgin Galactic completed its longest rocket-powered flight ever on Thursday, taking a step ahead in the nascent business of space tourism.
The two pilots on board Virgin Galactic's spacecraft Unity became the company's first astronauts. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was on hand to watch the historic moment.
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"Many of you will know how important the dream of space travel is to me personally. Ever since I watched the moon landings as a child I have looked up to the skies with wonder," Branson said after the flight. "This is a momentous day and I could not be more proud of our teams who together have opened a new chapter of space exploration."