Branson Unveils SpaceShipTwo
Billionaire unveils first tourist spacecraft
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2009 1:21 AM CST

(Newser) – Virgin Galactic chief Richard Branson yesterday rolled out the vessel he hopes will soon take thousands of people into space. Some 300 clients who already paid a deposit on the entrepreneur's $200,000 space travel tickets were on hand as SpaceShipTwo was unveiled at a hangar in Mojave, Calif., CNN reports. Branson aims to start launching people into space as soon as 2011 after testing is completed.

"NASA spent billions upon billions of dollars on space travel and has only managed to send 480 people," Branson told reporters. "We're hoping to send thousands of people into space over the next couple of years. We want to build a spaceship that is 100% safe." The billionaire plans to bring his family on SpaceShipTwo's first commercial flight.