VSS Enterprise Prepares to Go Where No Commercial Enterprise Has Gone Before

VSS Enterprise and Sir Branson
VSS Enterprise and mothership
VSS Enterprise and mothership
VSS Enterprise

In brief: Virgin Galactic's new sub-orbital space shuttle, dubbed the VSS Enterprise, is unveiled at the new Virgin Galactic Spaceport America.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: VSS Enterprise (SpaceShip Two)
Manufacturer: Virgin Galactic

The word

VSS Enterprise

Although no one is reported to have said "Make it so" before the unveiling commenced, it's possible that someone muttered "Warp Systems, engage" when the doors were opened to reveal the new SpaceShip Two and its mothership, the VMS Eve.

Christened the VSS Enterprise at the unveiling ceremony, the new sub-orbital space shuttle looks like a cross between a commercial airliner and a stealth fighter jet.

VSS Enterprise, Sir Branson

Virgin Galactic is the latest project of Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin travel group, including Virgin Airlines.

Expected to take flight carrying commercial passengers into the outer reaches of the atmosphere in 2011, the Enterprise already has 300 passengers as early-adoption signers-on. At $200,000 each.

VMS Eve, VSS Enterprise

The still under construction spaceport for the Eve and Enterprise is located in the Mojave Desert in Arizona. The new air and space port will be completed sometime next year.

The VMS (Virgin Mother Ship), Eve, underwent flight testing earlier this year and the VSS (Virgin Space Ship), Enterprise, is expected to undergo its flight testing early next year.

VMS Eve, VSS Enterprise

More shuttled and mother ships may be in the offing in the years to come as Virgin positions itself to be the first serious competitor in the commercial space flight industry. Prices per ticket are expected to fall as the program proceeds and costs are lowered.

And so ...

It's suspected that it will only be a matter of time before we will be required to defend ourselves against Klingon and Borg invasions. Luckily, the Enterprise will be there to save the day.

Photo credits: Virgin Galactic

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