I haven’t looked at details yet, but Virgin Galactic showed off models of their new spacecraft today according to a New York Times article:
Mr. Rutan, the creator of SpaceShipOne, the first privately-financed craft to carry a human into space, traveled to New York to show detailed models of the bigger SpaceShipTwo and its carrier airplane, WhiteKnightTwo.
WhiteKnight, a two-fuselage, four-engine plane in its new incarnation, will ferry the smaller spacecraft high into the sky and release it. The spacecraft pilot then fires the craft’s rocket engine, which burns a combination of nitrous oxide and a rubber-based solid fuel, and shoots the vehicle upward to an altitude of more than 62 miles, the realm of black sky.
Once there, the pilot is to activate the craft’s innovative feathered wing, which rotates into a position that greatly increases aerodynamic drag and slows the craft for a glider landing back on earth.
Commercial flights are still a couple years away, but it’ll be great to see these things take off even on test flights…