Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo

Double-hulled plane will carry rocket to high altitude
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 5:31 PM CST
British billionaire Richard Branson, left, and the aerospace designer Burt Rutan unveil a model of SpaceShipTwo, right, the vehicle they hope will be able to take passengers on suborbital joy-rides, just...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Richard Branson has unveiled the ship that will carry paying passengers to space. Slightly different from its original prototype, SpaceShipTwo will be carried to high altitude by a double-hulled plane called White Knight, where the rocket will then separate and launch. Branson's Virgin Galactic startup hopes to start test flights this summer, reports the TechCrunch blog.

However, there was no mention in the press conference—held at the Museum of Natural History in New York—of when the company planned to begin commercial flights. Tickets will start at $200K, a price which Branson acknowledges is too high. "Within five years of launching, we hope that price can come down dramatically," he says.