Virgin Galactic Set To Unveil Spacecraft

Virgin Galactic, the commercial space vehicle firm backed by Virgin Group's Sir Richard Branson, said Monday that it is unveiling its commercial spaceship this evening, in preparation for daily space tourism flights from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic said SpaceShipTwo and mothership VMS Eve (WhiteKnightTwo) will be shown in Mojave, California, in a event with Governor Richardson of New Mexico. Virgin Galactic said flights will start once the firm completes its test program and gets all required U.S. government licenses. virgin America said approximately 600 people are working on activities related to the project, with an estimated 1,100 jobs split between California and New Mexico related to the space vehicle. Virgin Galactic is a joint venture of Virgin Group and Scaled Composites, the firms behind SpaceshipOne, the first private spacecraft launched into space. That vehicle won the $10M, Ansari X-Prize for the first vehicle into space in 2004.