Monday, July 28, 2008

WhiteKnightTwo Unveiled!

I've been in the back woods of the middle of nowhere having a blast for the past week, but I couldn't have picked a better day to return. The day has come, and Virgin Galactic's first WhiteKnightTwo aircraft has been unveiled!

Together at Scaled Composites in Mojave, California, Sir Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Galactic) and Burt Rutan (Designer of SpaceShipOne, among other distinctions) pulled back the hanger doors obscuring the most advanced carbon-composite aircraft ever created. The craft is named Eve, after Richard Branson's mother (though one cannot deny its symbolic connotations). The major hurdles and advances that this craft represents include the longest single carbon fiber aviation component ever created (the 140 ft wing spar).

When it is in full operations, Eve will assist in the launch of SpaceShipTwo up to four times a day by carrying it up to 50,000 feet, and it will also be capable of transporting the spacecraft across the country if needed. Furthermore, other potential uses of the WhiteKnightTwo design have been mentioned, including firefighting and satellite launch applications.

People present at the unveiling (which included Buzz Aldrin and over 100 future Virgin Galactic space tourists) also got to see the first SpaceShipTwo, though heavily shrouded and currently under construction.

Oh, and here's the relevant super awesome picture:

Progress: 4.03%  Flight Time: 0:06:05

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