Virgin Galactic's founder, Richard Branson, had initially suggested that he hoped to see a maiden flight by the end of 2009, but this date has been delayed on a number of occasions, most seriously by the October 2014 in-flight loss of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise. Branson stated that Virgin Galactic was “in the best position in the world” to provide rocket-powered, point-to-point 3000 mph air travel on Earth. While Branson suggested, in October 2017, that he could travel to space aboard a SpaceShipTwo within six months, it was not until 13 December 2018 that VSS Unity achieved the project's first suborbital space flight, reaching an altitude of 82. 7 kilometres (51. 4 mi), officially entering outer space by US standards. The project did not carry a third person as a passenger until February 2019, when a member of the team sat in a flight that reached 89. 9 kilometres (55. 9 mi).