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Sir Richard Branson speaks after he flew into space aboard a Virgin Galactic vessel, a voyage he described as the "experience of a lifetime" -- and one he hopes will usher in an era of lucrative space tourism at Spaceport America, near Truth and Consequences, New Mexico on July 11, 2021. - "Congratulations to all our wonderful team at Virgin Galactic for 17 years of hard, hard work to get us this far," he said during a live feed as the VSS Unity spaceship glided back to Spaceport America in New Mexico.It reached a peak altitude of around 53 miles (85 kilometers) -- beyond the boundary of space, according to the United States -- allowing the passengers to experience weightlessness and admire the Earth's curvature.The trip proceeded without drama, and touchdown occurred at around 9:40 am Mountain Time (1540 GMT), about an hour after take-off. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
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