WATCH: Sir Richard Branson gets closer to space as Virgin Galactic conducts new test flight

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Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic took its next step to sending tourists into orbit after completing its latest test flight.

The aircraft, known as Unity, was hoisted to an altitude of 45,600ft before being by aircraft carried WhiteKnightTwo.

Unity’s engine then ignited and it flew to 114,500ft above the Earth’s surface, reaching a top speed of Mach 1.9.

In April, Unity completed a test flight where it reached an altitude of 84,271ft and a top speed of Mach 1.87.

Eventually, Virgin Galactic wants to be able to fly tourists to space, reaching an altitude of 360,890ft , well beyond the 328,000ft that is defined as the boundary of space.

Virgin Galactic boss Sir Richard Branson was on the ground for the launch, which took place at Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

“It was great to see our beautiful spaceship back in the air and to share the moment with the talented team who are taking us, step by step, to space,” Branson said.

“Seeing Unity soar upwards at supersonic speeds is inspiring and absolutely breathtaking. We are getting ever closer to realizing our goals.

“Today we saw VSS Unity in her natural environment, flying fast under rocket power and with a nose pointing firmly towards the black sky of space,” Branson said.

“The pathway that Unity is forging is one that many thousands of us will take over time, and will help share a perspective that is crucial to solving some of humanity’s toughest challenges on planet Earth.”

Currently there are 700 people signed up for flights when Virgin Galactic eventually begins launching into space. Tickets are priced at $250,000 per flight.

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