By Emma Nitzsche 

On Sunday, Virgin Galactic owner Richard Branson rode into space on a test flight to show how his company is ready to transport customers. The flight reached an altitude of 50 miles above Earth’s surface and gave Branson and his fellow passengers three minutes of weightlessness.

Five other passengers joined Branson on the flight. David Mackay and Michael Masucci served as the head pilots on the trip. Beth Moses, a Virgin astronaut trainer, Colin Bennett, a flight engineer, and Sirisha Bandla, the vice president of government relations, also took part in the thrilling ride.

Early in the morning, Unity, the Virgin mothership, was launched from the company’s Spaceport America launch site and lifted to an altitude of 45,000 feet. Once they reached the desired altitude, Mackay and Masucci performed a series of safety checks and ignited the hybrid rocket motor. The passengers shot forward as the spacecraft reached a near-vertical trajectory. The engine accelerated Unity to about three times the speed of sound before shutting down and giving the passengers the chance to unstrap and float around the spacecraft.

Live video from inside the spacecraft showed Branson and his crewmates experiencing weightlessness. Before he removed his seatbelt, Branson told the camera, “To all you kids down there; I was once a child with a dream looking up to the stars. Now I’m an adult, in a spaceship with lots of other wonderful adults, looking down to our beautiful, beautiful Earth. To the next generation of dreamers: if we can do this, just imagine what you can do!”

Next, Mackay and Masucci deployed the feathering system, allowing the plane’s wings to curl upward and turn the spaceship rightward as it flew back into Earth’s atmosphere. The feathered engineering pivoted Unity parallel to the fuselage, effectively turning it into a glider as it made its way back to Earth’s surface. Finally, the pilots glided Unity through its descent and lined it up on the runway for a perfect landing. The entire journey lasted nearly an hour from takeoff to touchdown.

The flight came just nine days before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will board a spaceflight of his own aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft. Despite the publicity, Branson told the public that there is no space race between him and Bezos. After Unity landed, Bezos complimented the Virgin Galactic team on Instagram and exclaimed that he “can’t wait to join the club!”

Both Bezos and Branson have expressed a desire to open the door for commercial space travel in the coming years. Starting next year, Virgin Galatic aims to launch 400 flights a year. In addition, the company is preparing to build additional spaceport facilities all over the world.

As of March, Virgin galactic had about 600 bookings, priced at an average of $250,000 from hopeful astronauts. According to a Sunday report from the Wall Street Journal, one of the hopeful astronauts is Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Before he took to space, the pair celebrated together, with Branson tweeting a picture of him and Musk saying it’s “great to start the morning with a friend.”

UBS estimates that the price for tickets would rise to $400,000 per ticket, with prices going down as space travel becomes more accessible. Currently, about two million can afford to go to space. For Virgin Galactic to meet its goal of 400 flights, the space company needs to transport around 0.08% of those individuals each year.