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The starting date for flights has been pushed back several times. Branson originally predicted that Virgin Galactic would be flying customers into space by 2007. Development issues, a 2007 fatal explosion during a ground test and a tragic test-flight crash in October 2014 are some of the things that have delayed work.

On Dec. 13, 2018, the company achieved a major accomplishment when their VSS Unity test vehicle reached space — at least, according to one definition. The vehicle reached an altitude of 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers), which is slightly higher than what the U.S. Air Force considers the border between Earth's atmosphere and space when giving astronaut wings to its pilots. However, the more famous Kármán line defining where space begins is at 62 miles (100 km) up.

Virgin plans to operate its future private space flights out of the Spaceport America complex in New Mexico, but it has also signed an agreement to develop a spaceport in Abu Dhabi.

The company has hundreds of customers who have made deposits for spaceflights. The biggest known name on the list (announced in 2012) is actor Ashton Kutcher, although rumor has it that actors Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and singer Katy Perry have signed on as well. A few people reportedly backed out after the October 2014 crash.

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