Virgin Galactic plans to roll out its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft in Mojave, Calif. on July 28, according to published reports. The London-based company has invited 254 would-be space tourists who have plopped down $20,000 to $200,000 for suborbital joyrides to the ceremony.
WhiteKnightTwo is expected to fly in September, Leonard David reports at Space.com. Company president Will Whitehorn tells David that Virgin has planned an “incredibly conservative” test flight program for the mother ship and SpaceShipTwo before flying passengers on suborbital tourism flights.
The roll out will be coordinated with the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 air show in Wisconsin, which runs from July 28 to August 3.
“I can absolutely confirm that the Virgin Galactic event, which takes place during the opening day of AirVenture, will have ties back to Oshkosh, both real-time and throughout the week,” said EAA President and AirVenture Chairman Tom Poberezny in a story on the air show’s website. “We’ve been in regular communications with our friends at Virgin Galactic and its partner organization, Scaled Composites, to coordinate.”
The website reports that Whitehorn, Virgin chairman Richard Branson, and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan will visit AirVenture the following day.