Feeds

Virgin Galactic trumpets SpaceShipTwo

'VSS Enterprise' unveiled at Spaceport America

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Virgin Galactic yesterday unveiled its SpaceShipTwo (SS2) passenger-carrying rocketplane in a lavish* ceremony at New Mexico's "Spaceport America".

The SS2 roll-out. Pic: Virgin Galactic

SS2 rolled out slung under the WhiteKnightTwo mothership, which will eventually carry it aloft to 50,000ft before the pair part company and a hybrid rocket engine blasts six SS2 passengers and two astronaut pilots on their sub-orbital joyride.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson enthused: “This is truly a momentous day. The team has created not only a world first but also a work of art. The unveil of SS2 takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this ambitious project is not only moving rapidly, but also making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation.”

Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger was on hand to christen SS2 the "Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Enterprise" - something which is "not only an acknowledgement to that name’s honorable past but also looks to the future of the role of private enterprise in the development of the exploration, industrialisation and human habitation of space".

Before Branson sets about conquering the galaxy, SS2 will have to earn its "all required US government licensing" wings. Virgin Galactic says the design will be "refined and completed during an extensive test flying program to commence shortly".

The SS2 and mothership in the hangar. Pic: Virgin Galactic

Scaled Composites, which constructs both the SS2 and WhiteKnightTwo vehicles, will doubtless be hoping the former behaves itself during testing. The WhiteKnightTwo, aka VMS (Virgin Mothership) Eve, suffered a tail strike during a touch-and-go manoeuvre earliert this year, which prompted much press speculation about control issues.

There's more on Virgin Galactic's vehicles here. ®

Bootnote

*You've got to give Branson his due - he knows how to throw a spaceship party. Virgin Galactic's preview press release explained:

SpaceShipTwo will be unveiled after darkness has fallen over the Mojave Desert to the sound of a space-themed anthem from Britain’s biggest DJs, Above & Beyond. Fittingly titled “Buzz” the track will sample Buzz Aldrin’s original moon landing dialogue. Following the naming by Governors Richardson and Schwarzenegger, the DJs will also perform an exclusive set at the celebration cocktail party which will follow and feature the first ever IceBar in the desert hosted by Absolut and the world famous Swedish IceHotel. All the guests will be protected from the desert cold by designer space jackets supplied by PUMA.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.