Virgin Galactic - Spaceship Revealed
For a site that’s clearly meant for us geeks (and in fact written by us too), I’m really surprised that no one’s decided to cover the fact that Virgin Galactic has released the final design of their spaceship. Of course, what I mean by that is that there are now official images of the craft that will take paying customers into space.
It is based on the X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne concept and is capable of taking eight people a pop into a sub-orbital trip, beginning in 2010. Burt Rutan has been contracted to build WK2 (White Knight Two), which is almost complete. Another craft, SpaceShipTwo, is also being built at the Scaled Composites factory in California.
Six lucky (and apparently very rich people, given the tickets cost more than $200,000) people will blast off somewhere in the New Mexico desert on a trip that is just two and a half hours long. The altitude of 110km will give some minutes of weightlessness (there is still speculation of how many) along with a visibility of curvature of the Earth from the black reaches of space.
Is it worth the ticket price? Well, it’s certainly once in a lifetime. Will it usher in a new world of Mass Effect style shenanigans? Who knows? All I know is that the further these boundaries are explored, the more we’ll want to push them.