Virgin Galactic has been operating for a long time compared with other private spaceflight companies, but it had never actually flown in space before now. Well, the definition of space is somewhat hazy, but Virgin’s pilots are astronauts by at least one definition. This marks the highest altitude its spaceliner has reached, bringing the company one step closer to consumer space excursions.

 

 

The launch by Virgin Galactic was a major milestone for a growing commercial space industry, which for all its triumphs has yet to show it can routinely fly humans into space. But that may soon change.