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Virgin Galactic spacecraft in second powered test flight

Sir Richard Branson was on hand to greet the pilots after the spacecraft touched down in California.

Virgin Galactic has conducted the second rocket-powered test flight of its tourism spaceship in the skies over California.

The company said VSS Unity fired its rocket motor for 31 seconds and climbed to an altitude of 114,500ft, before gliding to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port.

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson was on hand to greet pilots Dave Mackay and Mark “Forger” Stucky, as well as the crew of the carrier aircraft that launched the spaceship.

The flight came less than two months after the first powered flight on April 5.

Virgin Galactic said this brings the company closer to its goal of being able to fly its spacecraft more frequently than has been typical for human spaceflight.

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