July 29, 2009 — Oshkosh, Wisconsin — WhiteKnightTwo, aka mothership Eve, made its first demonstration Monday afternoon at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009.
WhiteKnightTwo is a plane capable of carrying SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of over 50,000 feet. SpaceShipTwo will be the first spacecraft able to take civilians beyond earth’s atmosphere.
After WhiteKnightTwo brings SpaceShipTwo to launch altitude, SpaceShipTwo will then take passengers the rest of the way until they are in suborbital space. SpaceShipTwo is set to be revealed later this year.
When testing is completed on both, partner company Virgin Galactic, headed by billionaire English businessman Sir Richard Branson, will become the first spaceline. People can already book flights, which cost $200,000.
Eve flew by at about 2:38 p.m., at the same time as the Ford Tri-Motor. Then it left the immediate area so a Thunderbird F-16 could take off and do a fly-by before it departed for Nellis Air Force Base.
Eve will be parked at AeroShell Square.
The largest all-composite aircraft ever built, it was developed by Mojave, California-based Scaled Composites, the company founded by Burt Rutan, in partnership with Virgin Galactic. Their previous generation of spacecraft, the WhiteKnight and SpaceShipOne, was awarded the Ansari X PRIZE, a $10 million prize awarded for the first spacecraft able to carry three passengers 100 kilometers above the earth’s surface twice within two weeks.
SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots.
WhieKnightTwo circles over Oshkosh Monday before landing at AirVenture Oshkosh. Photo credit: Tyson V. Rininger, EAA
A view of WhiteKnightTwo, as taken from the skies above Oshkosh. Photo credit: Jim Koepnick, EAA