Results have been mixed, to say the least.
Founded in 2004, Virgin Galactic got its start when Branson teamed up with aircraft designer Burt Rutan to provide the necessary spaceship technology.
A 2007 rocket motor test in California’s Mojave Desert left three workers dead and three more injured.
Then in 2014 the rocket plane Enterprise — named after the “Star Trek” ship — broke apart during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.
Unity, the replacement ship named by the late physicist Stephen Hawking, began flight tests in 2016. It made its first trip to the edge of space with two pilots in 2018 and the second in 2019, both times from Mojave.
The operations moved to New Mexico’s Spaceport America, with the plane soaring from there on May 22 to achieve the company’s third spaceflight.