Aerospace company Virgin Galactic has conducted the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Known as VSS Unity, the rocket plane was attached to the carrier aircraft VMS Eve.

Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow along with the team in Mission Control, executed take-off and landing, as well as high-altitude release from VMS Eve. The mothership was piloted by Michael Masucci and Kelly Latimer.

Upon reaching an altitude of 50,000ft, Unity was released and it flew freely over New Mexico airspace. The flight marks a key achievement as it is getting prepared for commercial service.

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During the flight, the spaceship recorded a glide speed of Mach 0.70 and completed multiple test-points.

Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company CEO George Whitesides said: “I would like to congratulate our team for reaching this flight milestone, especially during these challenging times.

“I am grateful for the commitment displayed by everyone involved, not only in helping to support relief efforts in both New Mexico and California but also for the dedication and creativity, which will allow us to continue safely towards our goal of commercial launch.”

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The flight provides an opportunity to test all components required to fly the carrier aircraft and spaceship in glide configuration.

It also enabled the pilots and spaceflight operations team to train in the new airspace around the Gateway to Space.

The company will begin preparation for the next flight and conduct an in-depth analysis of data gathered during the first flight.