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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedSpace Tourism Story Continues to Unfold at Oshkosh
Virgin Galactic's July 28 rollout of White Knight Two to be celebrated at AirVenture
  
The blogosphere is abuzz with reports of Virgin Galactic's recently sent invitations to selected individuals for a progress report and a rollout of White Knight Two on July 28 at Mojave, California, Spaceport. These reports foreshadow a parallel media event and follow-up engagements with EAA members and visitors at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration," July 28-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. "We've been in regular communications with our friends at Virgin Galactic and its partner organization, Scaled Composites, to coordinate."

Poberezny added that the Virgin Galactic team - including Virgin Group owner Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn, and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan - will arrive at AirVenture the following day (Tuesday, July 29) to speak and interact with EAA members and event visitors.

According to Virgin Galactic, White Knight Two's primary mission will be to serve as the mothership for SpaceShipTwo, which is currently under development as the world's first private tourism spacecraft. White Knight Two will carry SpaceShipTwo and her passengers to an altitude of approximately 50,000 feet, where the spacecraft will separate and blast at nearly Mach 4 up to a zero-gravity, suborbital space boundary of as high as 360,000 feet. An inventive "feathering" configuration will ease the spacecraft's reentry into the atmosphere after it has spent several minutes in weightlessness.

Virgin Galactic points out that White Knight Two will also have utility as a launch platform for rockets and satellites. It may even serve as a cargo hauler and fire-fighting water bomber.

White Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo are significantly expanded and modified progeny of the original White Knight and SpaceShipOne. These originals seized the $10 million Ansari X-Prize in the fall of 2004 for making the world's first qualifying, privately funded flights into suborbital space within two weeks. These aircraft wowed record crowds at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2005, where the mated aircraft performed their only public flight demonstrations before SpaceShipOne took its place at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

"This unfolding story of space tourism reflects directly on the EAA community and the environment of pioneering and innovation that it has always promoted," Poberezny said. "Burt Rutan, the genius behind the designs of the White Knights and the SpaceShips, and numerous other innovative aircraft, is a lifetime member of EAA who got started as part of EAA's amateur-built aircraft movement.

"We're proud of the accomplishments of Burt, of the Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic teams, and of every EAA member who lives the dream of passionate participation in aviation."

EAA will announce more details regarding the Virgin Galactic story at AirVenture as they are finalized.

 

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