Virgin Galactic unveils new space tourism rocket plane

By Staff Writer

Feb 23, 2016 07:10 AM EST

Spaceline company Virgin Galactic has finally unveiled its new space tourism rocket called the SpaceShipTwo last Friday 19th.

Multibillionaire Richard Branson arrived at this launch ceremony in Mojave, California, which was attended by his four-generation family, Virgin Galactic's Founder Future Astronauts, stakeholders and partners.

British physicist Stephen Hawking contributed to this new vehicle by suggesting the name of this second remake to be Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity.

In Hawking's recorded speech, he stated that he "would be very proud to fly on this spaceship." While Branson, in the other hand, had offered Hawking the privilege to fly into space. Bearing in mind that the professor is confined in a wheelchair and is suffering Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

The rocket named SpaceShipTwo, is due to take off at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. According to Virgin Galactic, this new and improved craft will remain on the ground as they still need to through full-vehicle tests of her electrical systems and all her moving parts, according to RT.

The company emphasized its commitment to the full testing of the craft. "Our team's job is to plan out not just the obvious tests but also the strange and inventive ones, to conduct those tests, and to use the data from those tests to re-examine everything about our vehicle to ensure we can take the next step forward," Virgin Galactic announced, as per CBC.

It was noted that the first spaceship named SpaceShipeOne was a failure due to an accident two years ago in the Mojave Desert. The accident was deemed to be a pilot error and oversights by Northrop Gumman Corp's. When it broke apart, it took great convincing for Branson to decided to not give up on the project.

The failure was soon recovered with a reconstruction of a new version, making it one of the biggest differences between the two, according to Reuters. They added a pin to prevent a pilot from unlocking the ship's rotating tail section too soon before descending which triggered the first downfall of the rocket.

Other changes were also made such as a device for pilots to prevent them from premature release of the ship's landing gear and  distinct new control switches.

Virgin Galactic is among a handful of companies, including Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Paul Allen's Stratolaunch Systems and Boeing (BA.N), that plan to fly people in space.

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