PHOTOS: Virgin Galactic's Mother Ship Debuts

PHOTOS: Virgin Galactic Mother Ship WhiteKnightTwo Debuts
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July 29, 2008—Champagne sprays over Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson and his mother, Eve, during the July 28 naming ceremony for the first WhiteKnightTwo, a new class of carrier plane.

More than four years in design and construction, the WhiteKnightTwo mother ship was unveiled yesterday at the Mojave Air and Spaceport in California. (Read the full story.)

WhiteKnightTwo is a larger version of the plane that helped SpaceShipOne become the first privately built craft to carry a person on three round-trip voyages to space. The planes will ferry the not-yet-unveiled SpaceShipTwo crafts—six-passenger versions of SpaceShipOne—high enough to launch the smaller ships and those onboard into space.

"The rollout of WhiteKnightTwo takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this most ambitious of projects is not only for real but is making tremendous progress toward our goal of safe commercial operation," Branson said at the unveiling ceremony.

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—Photograph by Stefano Paltera/AP
 
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