On April 29, 2013, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle fired its engine in flight for the first time to surpass Mach 1, after being dropped from the company's WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane. Mark Stucky (pilot) and Mike Alsbury (co-pilot) were at the controls of SS2 for the test, flown over Mojave, California. Both are test pilots for Scaled Composites, who built the spaceship. In this first test, the engine burned for 16 seconds, and the vehicle reached an altitude of 55,000 feet. The company plans more powered tests this year, and expects SpaceShipTwo to reach the edge of space - above 62 miles -- before the end of 2013.
Video: Virgin Galactic (2:58