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Gallery: Virgin Galactic unveils space ride

Sir Richard Branson showed off SpaceShipTwo for the first time. The vehicle promises to take thousands of private citizens on a short ride into space.
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Sir Richard Branson showed off for the first time - SpaceShipTwo - the vehicle that promises to take thousands of private citizens into space. The ship, which will be christened on Monday as the Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Enterprise, promises to be the world's first commercial vehicle to take passengers into space. But the astronauts won't be typical people off the street as tickets cost $200,000 with a $20,000 deposit. More than 300 have already been sold.

The first passenger flights will take place after the spaceship has been tested and cleared by the U.S. government.

Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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SpaceShipTwo will take 6 passenger-astronauts and two pilots in a two-hour suborbital flights that will reach the edge of space. The crew will be weightless for about five minutes.

Sir Richard meets with pilots Burt Rutan and Will Whitehorn

Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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In the hanger, SpaceShipTwo is attached to the mother ship, VMS Eve. On a typical flight VMS Eve will haul SpaceShipTwo over 50,000 above the Earth where it will drop the spacecraft. SpaceShipTwo will then fire its rocket engines to complete the voyage.

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Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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In another artist's drawing, the VMS Enterprise takes off.

Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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VMS Eve made its first flight on July 9,2009 at the EAA Airadventure show in Oshkosh Wisconsin.

Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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Sir Richard Branson sits inside the VMS Eve.

Credit: Virgin Gallactic

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