Three . . . two . . . one . . . Liftoff! Space travel changed on July 11 with the launch of a space plane. It was built by a company called Virgin Galactic. The plane shot to the edge of space, about 53 miles above Earth’s surface.
Nine days later, another company’s spacecraft took off. Blue Origin’s craft soared about 13 miles higher than Virgin Galactic’s craft above Earth.
SpaceX, a third company, is part of this “space race.” This fall, it plans to send people on a mission that will orbit, or travel around, Earth.
In the past, most space missions have been planned by government agencies, such as NASA. Only trained astronauts visited space. But these companies’ trips to space show that commercial flights are possible. Now customers can pay to visit space as tourists.