Branson returns from space on Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson successfully landed on Earth just after 12 p.m. ET Sunday, becoming the first billionaire to launch into space.

Branson made the trip, which lasted about 90 minutes, in a spaceplane created by his company that launched on Sunday morning after a 90-minute delay. After he exited the spacecraft, he hugged loved ones and celebrated with fans.

"What a day, what a day, what a day, what a day," Branson said in remarks following the landing.

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"I think like most kids I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid, but honestly nothing could prepare you for the view of Earth from space. I mean, the whole thing, it was just magical, And suddenly you're looking down and you're seeing three people looking up at you," Branson said. "I'm just taking it all in. It's just unreal."

The spaceplane, SpaceShipTwo Unity, carried the British billionaire, two pilots and three other mission specialists into space, reaching the 50-mile altitude that is recognized as the edge of space by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to The Washington Post.   

The launch from Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America in New Mexico was slightly delayed on Sunday morning due to weather. It came just days before Amazon founder Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosSpaceX launches first all-civilian orbit crew into space Tucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' Feehery: Not this way MORE is set to launch into space on his own spacecraft.

During his remarks, Branson thanked his wife, several others and his supporters for believing in his company.

"I know I said it from the spaceship, but I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to every single person who has believed in Virgin Galactic, the team who have worked so hard to make this dream come true," Branson said. "It's 17 years of painstaking work and the occasional horrible down but by and large ups, ups with it, and today was definitely the biggest up."

He also said that the mission statement that he carried inside his spacesuit "was to turn the dream of space travel into a reality for my grandchildren, who are here, for your grandchildren and for many people who are alive today, for everybody."

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"And having flown to space, I can see even more clearly how Virgin Galactic is the space line for Earth." he said.

Since 2018, it’s the spaceplane’s fourth trip to the edge of space, the Post noted.

Updated at 1:03 p.m.