Virgin Galactic has taken another important step to becoming the world’s first private commercial spaceline with its VSS Enterprise spacecraft flying with a crew on board for the first time. The craft formerly known as SpaceShipTwo remained attached to VMS Eve, the jet-powered carrier aircraft from which the VSS Enterprise will eventually be launched, for the duration of the flight to allow for numerous combined vehicle systems tests to be conducted.

During the flight, which lasted six hours and 12 minutes on July 15th, the two crew members aboard the VSS Enterprise, Peter Siebold and Michael Alsbury, evaluated all of the spaceship’s systems and functions from end to end. All objectives of the flight were met, marking a significant milestone for Scaled Composites, the company responsible for constructing both the VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve for Virgin Galactic.

The flight was the 33rd for VMS Eve and the third for the VSS Enterprise in captive carry configuration. Virgin Galactic hopes to start commercial sub-orbital space flights from 2011.