By the numbers

The world's first private spaceship: By the numbers

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo has flown on its own for the very first time, a year before the company hopes to put tourists in space

The world's first private, manned spaceship — Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo — completed its first test flight on Sunday, a crucial step toward making commercial space tourism a reality. The craft, also known as the VSS Enterprise, has more tests to pass before it can carry its first paying passengers into suborbital flight. In this one, a mother ship carried SpaceShipTwo aloft and released it over the Mojave Desert, after which SpaceShipTwo glided down without firing the rocket that will propel it into space. (Watch Richard Branson discuss his innovation.) Here's a look at the numbers behind this feat of aerospace engineering:

45,000 feetAltitude SpaceShipTwo reached during this test flight

50,000 feetAltitude SpaceShipTwo will reach with space tourists before its rocket fires up

2,500 mph Speed SpaceShipTwo will attain under rocket power

316,000 feetAltitude SpaceShipTwo will reach with tourists on board — around 60 miles above the surface of the Earth

$200,000The cost of a ticket on SpaceShipTwo. A $20,000 deposit is required

370Number of passengers who have already paid their deposits

180 minutesLength of proposed SpaceShipTwo flights. Passengers will experience around five minutes of weightlessness

6Number of passengers SpaceShipTwo will carry on each flight, along with two pilots

5Number of SpaceShipTwo planes proposed for Virgin's fleet

$400 millionCost of the five commercial spaceships and launch vehicles

60 feetLength of the SpaceShipTwo

122 feetLength of the Space Shuttle Endeavour

18 monthsLength of the testing process for SpaceShipTwo

2011The year in which Virgin hopes to begin commercial flights into space43Years from the publication of 2001: A Space Odyssey to the dawn of actual commercial spaceflight

Sources: Virgin Galactic, Yahoo News, National Geographic, Los Angeles Times, USA Today

Recommended

Former FDA commissioner questions whether researchers should continue to publish sequences of novel viruses
Scott Gottlieb.
sunday shows

Former FDA commissioner questions whether researchers should continue to publish sequences of novel viruses

Scientists in Egypt identify fossil of prehistoric four-legged whale
Fossils of a newly identified prehistoric whale species.
discoveries

Scientists in Egypt identify fossil of prehistoric four-legged whale

Unvaccinated COVID hospitalizations are costing billions
Nurse in hospital.
paying for it

Unvaccinated COVID hospitalizations are costing billions

A new company is trying to bring back the woolly mammoth. Expect 'tons of trouble' along the way.
Wolly mammoth skeleton.
don't call it a comeback

A new company is trying to bring back the woolly mammoth. Expect 'tons of trouble' along the way.

Most Popular

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?
Elizabeth Holmes and James Mattis.
Samuel Goldman

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?

How Newsom ran away with the recall
Gavin Newsom.
Picture of David FarisDavid Faris

How Newsom ran away with the recall

FDA panel rejects Pfizer boosters for people 16 and older
Pfizer vaccine
no can do

FDA panel rejects Pfizer boosters for people 16 and older