The space tourism company Virgin Galactic unveiled a new model of the commercial spaceship, SpaceShip Two rocket plane and WhiteKnight Two mothership in New York today. The owner Richard Branson says he is hoping the new design will provide paying passengers into space on a regular basic next year. The commercialize space business from Virgin Galactic offers once in a lifetime space travel experience and it’s 10 times less than what Dennis Tito, a US businessman paid for his $20 million expedition by Space Adventures of Vienna in 2001.
The launching site will be based at New Mexico and the whole trip is expected to take about two and a half hours, with about five minutes of weightlessness. The new model uses WhiteKnight Two acts as launch vehicle and SpaceShipTwo to carry passengers. They are designed to be flown twice a day, and expected to carry over 100,000 people out into space in the first 12 years of operation. The adventure has drawn more than 200 interested individuals and $30 million in deposits for the ride. It is expected to begin in late 2009 or 2010 at a cost of $200,000 per person.