Virgin Galactic model in the EAA
Photo by Phil Weston
Rutan, of Scaled Composites, and Sir Richard Branson, of Virgin
Galactic, unveiled the long-awaited White Knight Two aircraft in Mojave,
California, on Monday morning.
dramatic morning ceremony, this successor to the legendary White Knight
One aircraft was rolled out of its hangar in front of a gathering of
media and industry representatives. Assembled media at Oshkosh took part
in a video conference held at the EAA Vette Theater and had the
opportunity to ask questions of Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn
and Scaled Composites’ Bob Morgan.
Knight Two, which is the product of a long list of technical firsts, is
designed to be the launch vehicle for Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo,
which is destined to be the first craft to carry paying passengers on
addition to its suborbital launch mission, Whitehorn said that White
Knight Two would be capable of launching small payloads, and possibly
even a single-passenger vehicle, into low earth orbit.
envision other, non-space-related missions such as carrying large, heavy
cargo and even water-bombing for firefighting.
Mojave rollout, Branson’s mother, Eve Branson, christened the first
White Knight Two aircraft with the name Eve.
keeping with Scaled’s long-standing policy of not announcing
development schedules, it declined to say when the aircraft’s first
flight would be, or any other development dates.
But AirVenture attendees
can find out the latest on the project right here in Oshkosh. A model of
Space Ship Two is on display throughout the week at the EAA Welcome
Center. On Tuesday, its inventor, Burt Rutan, will fly to Oshkosh with
Branson and Whitehorn for two special AirVenture events on Tuesday: 1
p.m. at Honda Pavilion 7 as well as during Tuesday’s evening program
at Theater in the Woods.