SpaceShipTwo is the prototype for the world's first commercial manned spaceship, destined to take private astronauts into space and paving the way for space transportation.
Powered by a hybrid rocket motor, SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots into space on sub-orbital flights. Not only will private citizens be able to experience space flight, but private and government organizations will be able to send research projects into space as well. ... More
Utilizing an open-architecture design and powered by four Pratt & Whitney turbofans, WhiteKnightTwo provides the high-altitude launch platform for SpaceShipTwo to achieve sub-orbital flight.
Due to the demanding design requirements of this vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo has become the world's largest all carbon composite aircraft with an amazing 140 ft wing span. WhiteKnightTwo has a unique heavy lift, high-altitude capability that, in combination with its design, provides for maximum versatility in the weight and volume of its payload. ... More
Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer
This record-breaking, single-place, aviation marvel features two external booms flanking a center pod where the pilot sits, on top of which is the aircraft's powerhouse, a Williams turbofan jet engine.
The GlobalFlyer was designed to circumnavigate the globe with the hopes of setting new aviation records. Not only did it allow adventurer Steve Fossett to fly around the world without stopping or refueling, it did so at a record-breaking time. Fossett then went on to break the long-distance flight record set by Dick Rutan and Jeanna Yeager. GlobalFlyer now resides in the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. ... More
SpaceShipOne, the first private manned spacecraft, is a three-place, high-altitude research rocket, designed for sub-orbital flights at an altitude of 100 km and powered by a unique hybrid rocket motor.
This revolutionary vehicle's design allowed aircraft-like qualities for boost, glide, and landing. Utilizing a unique feather configuration, the ship converts to a stable, high-drag shape for atmospheric entry. This approach allows a "hands-off" re-entry and greatly reduces aero-thermal loads. After successfully winning the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE on October 4, 2004, SpaceShipOne now resides in the Smithsonian's "Milestones of Flight" gallery. ... More
Initially developed to provide a launch platform at 50,000 ft for SpaceShipOne, White Knight is a three-place, high-altitude, flexible and capable research aircraft.
The aircraft's high thrust-to-weight ratio, enormous speed brakes, and common aircraft systems allowed astronauts in training to practice SpaceShipOne flight maneuvers, like approach and landing, in a realistic environment. White Knight launched SpaceShipOne 14 times, including the first privately funded human spaceflight. The final launch, on October 4, 2004, won the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. ... More