Catch up on billionaire Richard Branson's trip to space with these photos of what it's like to fly with Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson in flight
Virgin Galactic
  • Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson flew to the edge of space on Sunday.
  • He joined a crew of three Virgin employees for the fourth flight of SpaceShipTwo above 50 miles.
  • Branson's role was "mission specialist," testing the passenger experience for future customers. 
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Billionaire Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, joined a crew of three employees and two pilots for the fourth high-altitude test flight of the company's SpaceShipTwo space plane on Sunday.

He and three other Virgin Galactic employees served as a "mission specialist," testing the passenger experience for future customers: Beth Moses, the company's chief astronaut instructor; Colin Bennett, its lead operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, the vice president of government affairs and research.

The company plans to start commercial tourist flights to the edge of space in 2022 and has already sold roughly 600 tickets worth about $250,000 each, plus another 1,000 on a waiting list for when sales reopen.

Here are 26 photos that capture what it was like.

Virgin Galactic flights depart from the company's spaceport near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

A Virgin Galactic aircraft outside the spaceport
Virgin Galactic

The luxurious, retro-futuristic departure lounge is the hub of Spaceport America.

The lounge at the Virgin Galactic spaceport
Virgin Galactic

Branson posed with crew members Beth Moses, Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla, and pilots Dave Mackay and Mike Masucci.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and his crew at the spaceport
Virgin Galactic

A star-themed walkway leads out to the tarmac.

A walkway at the Virgin Galactic spaceport
Virgin Galactic

The team traveled in Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity.

The Virgin Galactic aircraft against a partly cloudy sky
Virgin Galactic

Branson and the crew posed in front of the company's SpaceShipTwo space plane.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and the astronauts before flight
Virgin Galactic

Inside the cabin are six seats, each next to a 17-inch window.

The cabin of a Virgin Galactic spacecraft
Virgin Galactic

Detailing on the headrests shows the evolution of flight.

Detailing on a seat in the Virgin Galactic spacecraft
Virgin Galactic

Branson could be seen waving through the window of the spacecraft.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson seen through the window of the spacecraft
Virgin Galactic

VSS Unity took off with its carrier jet, VMS Eve, named for Branson's mother.

Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity takes off with carrier jet
Joe Skipper/Reuters

The VSS Unity spacecraft detached from the VMS Eve mothership...

The Virgin Galactic spacecraft detaching from the aircraft
Virgin Galactic

... and fired its engines.

The rocket firing on a Virgin Galactic spacecraft
Virgin Galactic

VSS Unity then began its ascent...

VSS Unity begins its ascent to the edge of space
Virgin Galactic via Reuters

... while VMS Eve turned away and VSS Unity continued its rise on its own.

Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity begins ascent
Joe Skipper/Reuters

Once VSS Unity reached the apogee at around 300,000 feet, the engines cut out...

A Virgin Galactic spacecraft above the earth
Virgin Galactic

... and the booms moved into position.

The Virgin Galactic spacecraft above earth
Virgin Galactic

Branson took advantage of the zero G environment.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson in flight
Virgin Galactic

The floating experience lasted only a few minutes...

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson in flight
Virgin Galactic

... but the views were out of this world.

A Virgin Galactic astronaut looks out the window toward earth
Virgin Galactic

There was still enough time for a few acrobatics...

A Virgin Galactic astronaut in flight
Virgin Galactic

... and inversions...

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson in flight
Virgin Galactic

... and one last look before bucking back in.

A Virgin Galactic astronaut looks out the window toward earth
Virgin Galactic

The VSS Unity craft returned to base...

VSS Unity lands after reaching the edge of space above Spaceport America
Joe Skipper/Reuters

... and was towed back to the spaceport.

VSS Unity is towed after reaching the edge of space
Joe Skipper/Reuters

Branson popped champagne after being declared an astronaut by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield following his flight...

Richard Branson sprays the crew with champagne after completing their flight
Joe Skipper/Reuters

... and he got the wings to show it.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson wears his astronaut's wings
Joe Skipper/Reuters
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