Real spaceship Enterprise flies for the first time

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

OK, so we still don't have those personal jetpacks we were promised, but thanks to British billionaire Richard Branson, we're at least one step closer to affordable space travel for ordinary people—because Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise has finally taken flight! The maiden voyage of the world's first commercial spacecraft took place yesterday over California's Mojave Desert, CNN reported.

Branson's company announced that the VSS Enterprise had successfully completed what it called a captive carry flight attached to a carrier plane.

"The captive carry flight signifies the start of what we believe will be an extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight test program," said Burt Rutan, founder of Scaled Composites, which built the spacecraft.

The plan is for the 60-foot-long rocket plane to be taken 60,000 feet above the earth by its carrier, after which it will then fire rockets to propel itself into space. Testing will continue through 2011 before commercial flights begin.

Virgin Galactic expects to be able to offer one flight per week, each containing six tourists who have paid $200,000 for the experience. Sound too pricey for you? Not everyone has been scared off by the cost—about 80,000 people have already placed their names on the waiting list.

You can watch the test flight for yourself below.

For the latest sci-fi news, follow us on Twitter at @scifiwire