‘Welcome to the dawn of a new space age,’ Richard Branson says after Virgin Galactic flight

SPACEPORT AMERICA, N.M.  — Virgin Galactic’s newly minted astronauts are beyond thrilled following their journey to space on the company’s first fully crewed spaceflight.  

Today (July 11), Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson joined crewmates Sirisha Bandla and Colin Bennett in earning their astronaut wings following the successful launch and landing of the company’s Unity 22 suborbital mission. Beth Moses, who also flew aboard the craft, had already achieved astronaut status on a previous flight. The whole crew shared their excitement after returning to Earth, popping Champagne bottles, with Branson even lifting Bandla up onto his shoulders.