[ Updates:

12:14 pm EST: Max altitude is reportedly 294,000 feet, or 89.6 km, or 55.7 miles. [Update: 295,007 feet, or 89.9 km, or 55.87 miles.]

12:08 pm EST: The SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity is back safely on the ground after a second successful powered flight to the edge of space. Official apogee not yet announced. Unity definitely achieved 50+ miles, which crosses the USAF/NASA definition for the boundary altitude to space.

11:56 am EST: The motor has finished firing and the vehicle reached Mach 3.

11:55 am EST: Unity has been released and its motor is firing.

11:28 am EST: The WK2/SS2 combo should reach the launch altitude in about half an hour and release the SS2 for its powered test flight. There are three crew persons on the SS2 today:

VG also says Moses is “She’s an expert micro-gravity researcher who’s completed over 400 zero g parabolic flights in 4 different aircrafts.”

11:08 am EST: The WK2/SS2 combo has taken off:

WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve and SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity take off from Mojave space port.

]

Virgin Galactic plans to fly SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity to the edge of space today. This will be the fifth rocket powered flight and the second to to go to 80+ kilometers in altitude. Currently, the schedule has the WhiteKnightTwo with the SS2 hung beneath it taking off from Mojave Air & Space Port at 8:00 am PST local time (11:00 noon EST).

Here is a diagram of the test:

Find live updates at Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) | Twitter.

Unity will be carrying several NASA sponsored research payloads that will take advantage of the several minutes of microgravity conditions.

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