Watch Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo go supersonic (video)

Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson hinted that there could be big news Monday from the company’s space flight arm, Virgin Galactic, tweeting:

That was followed shortly by another tweet hinting yet again at potentially big news:

Shortly thereafter news broke that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo had lit its engines for the first time, achieving supersonic speed. The engines burned for 16 seconds, reports the Associated Press, sending the craft as high as 55,000 feet over the Mojave Desert. It then landed safely at Mojave Air and Space Port. The craft did not break the atmosphere.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo flies over the Mojave Desert in California April 29, 2013 shortly before successfully completing a test flight that broke the sound barrier. Owner Virgin Galactic plans to start flying people aboard SpaceShipTwo as soon as test flights are complete, possibly later this year. REUTERS/Gene Blevins (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSPORT)
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo flies over the Mojave Desert in California April 29, 2013 shortly before successfully completing a test flight that broke the sound barrier. Owner Virgin Galactic plans to start flying people aboard SpaceShipTwo as soon as test flights are complete, possibly later this year. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)

The flight marks yet another milestone for Virgin Galactic, which is selling tickets to space for a whopping $200,000 $250,000 a seat.

(AP: Virgin Galactic’s spaceship makes 1st powered flight, goes supersonic in test over California)

This photo provided by Virgin Galactic shows Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo under rocket power, its first ever since the program began in 2005. The spacecraft was dropped from its "mothership," WhiteKnightTwo, over Mojave, Calif., on Monday, April 29, 2013. The spaceship, bankrolled by British tycoon Sir Richard Branson, made its first powered flight in a test that moves Virgin Galactic toward its goal of flying into space later this year. While SpaceShipTwo did not break out of the atmosphere during the test flight, it marked a significant milestone for Virgin Galactic, which intends to take passengers on suborbital joyrides. (AP Photo/Virgin Galactic, Mark Greenberg)
This photo provided by Virgin Galactic shows Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo under rocket power, its first ever since the program began in 2005. The spacecraft was dropped from its “mothership,” WhiteKnightTwo, over Mojave, Calif., on Monday, April 29, 2013. The spaceship, bankrolled by British tycoon Sir Richard Branson, made its first powered flight in a test that moves Virgin Galactic toward its goal of flying into space later this year. (Mark Greenberg/AP Photo/Virgin Galactic)

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Emi Kolawole · April 29, 2013

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