Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic took another step towards sending tourists into orbit with its latest test flight that reached half way to the edge of space.
A carrier aircraft, known as WhiteKnightTwo, hoisted the Unity spacecraft to an altitude of 45,600ft before releasing it into the atmosphere.
The vehicle’s engine then ignited, carrying the spaceplane’s two pilots — Dave Mackay and Mark Stucky — to nearly 114,500ft above the Earth’s surface while reaching a top speed of Mach 1.9.
It was the second rocket-powered flight of its Unity spacecraft, launching and landing from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert.
The test flight bested April's in altitude, which only reached 84,271ft at its peak. That test fight reached Mach 1.87.
Eventually, Virgin Galactic wants to fly space tourists to an altitude of 360,890ft going beyond the 328,000ft defined boundary of space.