Mothership Aircraft Ready to Launch Travellers Into Space
Travellers who are bored of the streets of Paris, the canals in Italy or the sunny beaches of the Bahamas have something new to look forward to: space trips.
Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson and a team of engineers and scientists have been working for the last four years to build the White Knight 2, which will transport a spacecraft in the middle of the ship into orbit.
A crowd of engineers, dignitaries and space enthusiasts gathered inside a Mojave Desert hangar for the unveiling countdown. As the hangar door flew open, White Knight Two appeared outside under the sunny desert sky with Branson and American aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan waving from the cabin.
White Knight Two, billed as the world's largest all-carbon-composite aircraft, is "one of the most beautiful and extraordinary aviation vehicles ever developed," Branson said.
Aerospace engineers have been holed up in a Mojave Desert hangar for four years, fashioning a commercial spaceship to loft rich tourists some 62 miles above Earth. Now the wraps come partially off the top-secret project.
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.