BUSINESS

Virgin Galactic Mothership Unveiled by Branson (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Aug 05, 2008 | Updated May 25, 2011

Scroll down for photos and video.

From the AP:

MOJAVE, Calif. - Virgin Galactic is giving the world a glimpse of its secret space tourism program. Sir Richard Branson's space company Monday trotted out the mothership aircraft that will launch a still-to-be-built spaceship out of the atmosphere. The mothership is a white, four-engine plane with room in the middle where the spacecraft will go.

The early morning rollout in California's Mojave desert came four years after SpaceShipOne became the first private manned rocket to reach space. Now the White Knight Two aircraft being shown today is due to undergo flight tests this fall.

More than 250 customers have paid $200,000 or put down a deposit for the chance to be one of Virgin Galactic's first space tourists. A date for the first launch has yet to be announced.

CrunchGear liveblogged the event and has photos of the White Knight 2. View them --and a promotional video from Virgin Galactic-- below.

Video: