TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. — Thrill-seeking billionaire Richard Branson has reached space aboard his own winged rocket ship in his boldest adventure yet. The feat vaults the nearly 71-year-old Branson past fellow billionaire and rival Jeff Bezos, who is planning to fly to space in a craft of his own nine days from now. With about 500 people watching, including Branson’s wife, children and grandchildren, a twin-fuselage aircraft with his space plane attached underneath took off in the first stage of the flight. Aboard were Branson and five crewmates from his Virgin Galactic space-tourism company. The space plane then detached from the mother ship at an altitude of about 8 1/2 miles (13 kilometers) and fired its engine, reaching the edge of space at about 53 miles (88 kilometers) up.