Sub-orbital space vehicle SpaceShipTwo made its third rocket-powered flight Friday at the Mojave Air & Space Port.
The vehicle reached an altitude of 71,000 feet, the highest to date, and reached a speed of Mach 1.4.
SpaceShipTwo is operated by Virgin Galactic LLC, the space tourism business of British billionaire Richard Branson. Additional sub-orbital space vehicles are being made by Spaceship Co., a Virgin Galactic subsidiary, at the Mojave Air & Space Port.
The flight enabled Virgin Galactic to collect more transonic and supersonic data needed for future flights, said Chief Executive George Whitesides.
“With each flight test, we are progressively closer to our target of starting commercial service in 2014,” said Whitesides, in a prepared statement.
Passenger flights aboard the space vehicles will take place from Spaceport America in New Mexico.