Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic Mothership "Eve" is also called White Knight Two 
   The twin carbon fibre composite fuselage aircraft is powered by 4 jet engines, and carries Spaceship Two up to around 15,000 metres (50,000 feet) before releasing it to fire its rocket engine into space at 2,500 mph. 

    The 6 passengers and two pilots will be able to experience 'zero gravity' by flying a special path called a parabola, and will then return to Earth as a glider, rather like the Space Shuttle.

   The picture was taken at Oshkosh 2009, the world's biggest aircraft event.  Thousands of light aircraft, and a few much heavier, like the Airbus A380, visited in 2009.

   The Mothership cockpit is in the right-hand fuselage pod, and has a similar layout as Spaceship Two, so that pilots can use it to train in.  the large red air-brakes visible on the wings give it a similar gliding behaviour to the Spaceship Two.  Space training can also be carried out as the Mothership, which is also capable of the 'zero gravity' flying path. 
Bert Rutan, the designer of this Cosy, the homebuilt aircraft on the left, has been making composite aircraft of unusual design for around 30 years.  His Global Challenger was flown non-stop around the World on two occasions by the late Steve Fossett. the second flight had an emergency landing in Bournemouth Airport due to a generator problem.

Visit the Virgin Galactic website for lots more information and to book your flight into space!

 

       Back to 'The Future'!  www.flyers.org.uk Youth & Education Support    2010