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Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo performed its first free flight on Saturday, bringing the dream of space tourism one step closer after a fatal crash in 2014 stalled the company’s plans.

The second SpaceShipTwo, named VSS Unity, and its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo took off at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California around 9.50am.

The spaceship successfully detached from the carrier less than an hour later, with David McKay and Mark Stuky piloting VSS Unity to a safe landing after 10 minutes.

The pilots reported ‘excellent flight qualities’ after a 2014 test flight with the first SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise, led to the death of co-pilot Mike Alsbury while pilot Pete Siebold suffered serious injuries.

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