Source Pravda.Ru

Virgin Galactic's Private Suborbital Spaceship Blasts off with Crew on Board

A private suborbital spaceship built for the space tourism firm Virgin Galactic made its first flight with a crew onboard Thursday as it soared over California's Mojave Desert beneath its enormous mothership.

The commercial spaceliner called VSS Enterprise, one of the company's fleet of SpaceShipTwo spacecraft did not try to reach space in the test flight. Instead, it stayed firmly attached to its WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve mothership, msnbc.com reports.

Virgin Galactic says the craft remained attached to a specially designed airplane throughout a six-hour flight over California's Mojave desert Thursday.

On its website, the company congratulated the crew and said "Objectives achieved." It says the two crew members evaluated all of the spaceship's systems and functions.

Virgin Galactic says the flight test program will run through 2011 before it starts commercial operations, according to The Associated Press.