From Stephen Hawking to Justin Bieber, scores of celebrities are raring to go to space by 2014. But for those of us who don't have $250,000 to shell out for a flight aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, here's the next best thing: A new video that shows an awesome tail-cam view of the space plane's second powered test flight, on September 5, 2012.
After it was dropped from its mothership WhiteKnightTwo, at an altitude of 46,000 feet, the space plane used rocket power to soar to 69,000 feet. It reached supersonic speeds, hitting a maximum speed of more than 1,000 mph -- that's 43 percent faster than the speed of sound.
"This is a giant step. Our spaceship is now the highest commercial winged vehicle in history!" Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, wrote on his blog. "We also successfully tested its feather system for carefree re-entry too - the first time that’s happened on a rocket powered flight."
What's the feather system? It works by rotating the plane's wing and tail sections to slow the spacecraft as it reenters the Earth's atmosphere.
Virgin Galactic hopes to offer the first commercial flights for space tourists by 2014.
"I can't wait to get up there," Branson says in the video.