Feeds

Virgin Galactic trumpets SpaceShipTwo

'VSS Enterprise' unveiled at Spaceport America

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.