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Virgin Spaceship Unity (VSS Unity) glides for the first time after being released from Virgin Mothership Eve (VMS Eve) over the Mojave DesertDec. 3, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic's new spaceship completed its first glide flight


Virgin Galactic's new spaceship, the VSS Unity, successfully completed its first glide flight over the Mojave Desert in California over the weekend. 

The aircraft was carried aloft by its mothership, WhiteKnightTwo. After its release, the spaceship glided for 10 minutes before landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

A series of glide flights will be conducted before the company proceeds to test rocket-powered flights. 

This is the second aircraft developed under the company's plan to build a fleet of ships that they say will one day carry passengers to space and back. 

"What made this glide flight test even more special was it being the first time that a spaceship built wholly by our manufacturing arm, The Spaceship Company, flew on her own," Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, wrote in a company blog post. "It was a special moment for me to be able to be there, surrounded by the people making this project happen."

In October 2014, Virgin Galactic's first spaceship designed to take tourists to space blew up after being released from its carrier aircraft.

The explosion happened during the company's fourth rocket-powered test flight. One pilot was found dead inside the spacecraft and the other managed to parachute out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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