Live from Virgin Galactic: We visit the White Knight 2

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I’ve just touched down in the Mojave and we’re all awaiting the unveiling of the White Knight 2. Buzz Aldrin is on hand as well as Sir Richard Branson’s parents. The White Knight 2 is the world’s largest all carbon composite aircraft with many of its composite materials having been used for the first time. It has a 140-foot wingspan that’s the longest single carbon composite aviation component ever manufactured. The WK2 is capable of a maximum of 50,000 ft and has the power, strength and moves to help train pilots for pre space-flight positive G forces and zero G training. Hit the jump for more info, images, and video.

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Burt Rhutan of Scaled Composites is currently giving his shpeal about the WK2.

Richard Branson was inspired to go to space by Stephen Hawking’s speech that the human race needed to move out into space and do what we’ve been doing here on earth, but more efficiently.

Air testing will begin shortly.

We’ll be able to see the aurora borealis from the WK2.

There’s a secret spaceport near Barcelona where the WK2 will operate from Europe. There will also be spaceports in New Mexico and Asia.

Anyone can travel on Virgin Galactic regardless of health. Sir Richard’s father who will be 92 at launch will even be able to travel. It’s a suborbital flight so there are less Gs being forced onto passengers.

Someone is asking about the quality of food on the WK2. WTF?! I’d probably puke if they served food.

12 are being built.

Now they’re talking about some aircrafty terms that I know nothing about. Something about the entire spaceship being all composite.

We’ll all be able to experience weightlessness. Awesome. John will feel less fat! If only for a few seconds.

270 people, as of today, have made reservations and they all wanted to have the ability to float around.

The WK2 will carry six passengers and two pilots although it’s capable of holding up to 11 people. Sir Richard only wants window seats.

One fuselage will carry the pilots while the other will hold passengers.

The WK2 was christened “EVE” after his mother. She was one of the first intercontinental female flight attendants. The EVE is full of firsts and Branson’s mother will be one of the first on-board.

Everyone is running around trying to take photos of Branson and his mother. They just popped open a bottle of champagne. Xeni Jardin is wielding a folding chair.

The twin fuselage and central payload area configuration allow for easy access to WK2 and to the spaceship for passengers and crew; the design also aids operational efieciencies and turnaround times. WK2 will be able to support up to four daily space flights, is able to carry out both day and night time operations and is equipped with a package of hightly advanced avionics.

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