Sir Richard Branson and designer Burt Rutan walk aside the Virgin Mothership “Eve” (VMS EVE) in Mojave, CA. on the eve of its official rollout on July 28, 2008.
Virgin Galactic Unveils Space Liner Mothership
“With all the pageantry of a king’s arrival, the WhiteKnightTwo â€” a huge flying launch pad to support passenger suborbital space travel â€” is making its public debut here today.
“The rollout of the colossal composite plane signals the first phase of a critical test program to establish a private spaceliner business â€” a venture being bankrolled by British entrepreneur and billionaire, Richard Branson and his Virgin Group.
“Looking like a giant catamaran for the sky, the twin-boom, two individual fuselages are topped by a large, 140-foot (42-meter) long stretch of wing. The aircraft will straddle and carry to drop altitude (around 48,000 feet) the SpaceShipTwo â€” a six passenger, two pilot craft that, once released, rocket’s pay-per-view passengers to some 65 miles (104 km) above the Earth.”
Virgin Galactic Unveils Launch Plane for Upcoming Spacecraft
“After years of secretive construction, Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic presented the first stage of their commercial launch platform, WhiteKnightTwo, today at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
“Sir Richard Branson explains his motive for creating Virgin Galactic: ‘Seeing the planet from out there surrounded by the incredibly thin layer of atmosphere helps one to wake up to the fragility of the small proportion of the planet’s mass that we inhabit and to the importance of protecting the Earth.'”
VIRGIN GALACTIC PRESS RELEASE
Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceShipOne designer, Burt Rutan, today pulled back the hangar doors on the new WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft that will ferry SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts, science packages and payload on the first stage of the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space experience.
The rollout represents another major milestone in Virgin Galacticâ€™s quest to launch the worldâ€™s first private, environmentally benign, space access system for people, payload and science.