San Diego man one step closer to space after Virgin Galactic makes successful test launch

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego man is now one step closer to being one of the first tourists in space.

Eighty-six years ago this week, the Spirit of St. Louis took off from San Diego on several test flights. Now, there are test flights of a different kind: test flights into outer space. One local future astronaut told 10News he cannot wait to go.

Scott Borden's smile is ear to ear.

"Yeah, it's about as wide as it goes, I think," he said.

The Mission Hills resident holds a magic ticket of sorts – ticket #552 – which is a seat on Virgin Galactic's passenger space flight.

"I had no idea they were going to do it that soon," he told 10News.

Borden is talking about Virgin Galactic's first powered flight over the Mojave Desert on Monday. SpaceshipTwo broke the speed of sound on its own rocket power, reaching an altitude of 56,000 feet.

This means British billionaire Sir Richard Branson is one step closer to being able to launch tourists or future astronauts like Borden into space.

"I got an email from Richard Branson… he was obviously very proud of what was accomplished," said Borden.

Borden was so excited that he shared photos from the test flight with his mother.

"She was just thrilled," he said. "She was so proud that her son was going to be an astronaut because you know, I said, 'If you go to space, you're an astronaut, so here we go.'"

To go was not cheap. It cost Borden $200,000. To date, more than 550 seats have already been sold worldwide.

"The goal is to bring the prices down," Borden said.  

He likens this latest test flight for Virgin Galactic to another significant test flight in San Diego's history.

"If you think about what Charles Lindbergh's feat did, it basically launched the entire commercial aviation industry and when you see this today and you see this spaceship flying supersonic -- first time they light the rocket it goes supersonic and then glides back down safely… it kind of tells you the sky is really the limit here," said Borden.

For him, that 2015 date is just around the corner.

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