Tracing back the technology used by Virgin Galactic, we have to check in with Scaled Composites, the company founded by Burt Rutan. As you can tell by this video they know how to not take everything too seriously but make no mistake, this team is working on cutting edge technology to get commercial spaceflight off the ground. In 2005, Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan announced their signing of an agreement to form The Spaceship Company (TSC) – a new aerospace production company to build a fleet of commercial sub-orbital spaceships and carrier aircraft.
The latest results of that are WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo (featured together in the picture above), the former (WK2) being the carrier aircraft and the latter (SS2) being the manned sub-orbital spacecraft that will fulfil the dreams of those lucky 500+ people who had the funding and the guts to sign up to go where few have gone before.
In October 2012, Virgin Galactic acquired full ownership of The Spaceship Company which marked the successful completion of a long-term strategy for The Spaceship Company, in that they by then had built out the manufacturing and assembly facilities, and had the necessary workforce and assets in place to start building Virgin Galactic‘s commercial fleet. While the first WhiteKnightTwo was christened VMS Eve after Richard Branson‘s mother, the Virgin Galactic spaceline plans to operate a fleet of five SpaceShipTwo spaceplanes for commercial spaceflight starting from 2014 although it would be good to note that this day moved back several times already.