Virgin Galactic Launch: How to Watch and Live Stream
What you need to know about Richard Branson and crew’s space plane flight.,
Branson and crew reached the edge of space and are beginning to return toward Earth.
- July 11, 2021, 9:17 a.m. ET
Richard Branson finally got his trip to space on Sunday.
It has been a very long wait for Mr. Branson, the irreverent, 70-year-old British billionaire who leads a galaxy of Virgin companies. In 2004, he founded Virgin Galactic to provide adventurous tourists with rides on rocket-powered planes to the edge of space and back.
At the time, he thought commercial service would begin in two to three years. Instead, close to 17 years have passed. Virgin Galactic says it still has three more test flights to conduct, including the one on Sunday, before it can be ready for paying passengers.
For this flight, Mr. Branson is a member of the crew. His task is to evaluate the cabin experience for future customers.
After cars drove Mr. Branson and his crewmates to the plane, the flighttook off on Sunday morning around 10:40 a.m. Eastern time from Spaceport America in New Mexico, about 180 miles south of Albuquerque. Virgin is broadcasting coverage of the flight, or you can watch it in the video player embedded above.
The space plane separated from the carrier ship around 11:25 a.m. and ignited its engine for about 60 seconds, carrying Mr. Branson and the crew into space. Video footage from the live stream showed him and the crew experiencing weightlessness.
The launch was pushed back about 90 minutes from its original start time because weather conditions overnight at the spaceport resulted in a delay of the spacecraft leaving its hangar. But at the time of liftoff, weather was favorable for the flight.
Stephen Colbert introduced segments of the livestream. The singer Khalid is scheduled to perform a new song after the crew lands. And Mr. Branson tweeted a picture in the morning with Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, who is in New Mexico to watch the flight.