It comes at a time when NASA is still forced to rely on Russian Federation to fly its astronauts to orbit and faces criticism that its aversion to risk has replaced the youthful audacity that helped it put men on the moon. Branson is now in a race with SpaceX's Elon Musk and Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos to be the first to carry private tourists to space.
Virgin Galactic's first two astronauts, Mark "Forger" Stucky and Frederick "CJ" Sturckow, celebrate after one employee proposes in front of the crowd.
Soon, the vehicle pointed nearly straight up, as it streaked through the same skies over the California desert where Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in 1947.
At some point, he aidd, the operation will move from Mojave Air and Space port - a former naval air base in California that serves as a hub for America's private space industry - to a facility created to handle passengers.
Then, in 2014, SpaceShipTwo broke apart during a test flight by Scaled Composites when the co-pilot prematurely unlocked its unique "feathering" braking system and it began to deploy.
Branson, wearing a leather bomber jacket, hugged his son as the spacecraft raced upwards and a commentator called out the altitude.
"Tears of relief as well. When you are in the test flight program of a space company you can never be completely 100 percent sure".
On their way back down, the pilots celebrated their success with a victory roll, watching the Earth spin below them as they sped back to the ground. Seeing "the dark sky was great".
"From our Virgin companies' point of view, a hard Brexit would torpedo some of our companies", he said, adding that Virgin Holidays would be hit as the pound would drop to parity and fewer people would be able to afford to go overseas. The Federal Aviation Administration said both pilots will receive their commercial astronaut wings at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. early 2019.
Another US rocket company, Blue Origin, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is also working to send tourists to space, but using a small rocket to get there.
Today's launch of SpaceShipTwo was an vast breakthrough in the push for privatized space travel, as well as for Virgin Group.
The United States, however, is the only country that defines space as a location 80 km above the Earth's surface.
The first crew tests of SpaceX and Boeing's astronaut capsules are expected next year.
He said: "The now-astronauts, who were pilots before, had this incredible experience, being in space... and had the ride of a lifetime". Image credits: Virgin Galactic.
Yesterday's launch was the fourth test flight aboard Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity and the most successful one to date. So far, more than 600 people have signed up, paying as much as $250,000. It is interesting to know that efforts on similar lines were first made by the group in year 2004, and first such commercial flight was speculated to take off in 2007. He used an engagement ring that had just flown on the VSS Unity, which means the ring earned some honorary astronaut wings for its journey.
History was made and a long-anticipated dream realized in Mojave, Calif., Dec. 13 as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, landed from her maiden spaceflight to cheers from Sir Richard Branson and the teams from Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.
The company is mainly focused on safety as well as eventually making flights affordable in the future.