New SpaceShipTwo generates positive vibes

Image: Hangar rollout
In this photo from the rollout, the VSS Unity rocket plane is on the left, the VMS Eve mothership is on the right, and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson is on the dais. (Virgin Galactic photo)

MOJAVE, Calif. – This time around, Virgin Galactic took no chances with the weather.

When the first SpaceShipTwo rocket plane was rolled out and christened Virgin Spaceship Enterprise in 2009, the craft sat out in Mojave’s December chill. A windstorm ended up spoiling the party and blowing away the tents that Virgin Galactic set up for the celebration.

For Feb. 19’s christening of Virgin Spaceship Unity, the ceremonies were held indoors at the hangar used by Virgin Galactic and its manufacturing arm, known as The Spaceship Company.

Not that the weather was anything to worry about: The show wrapped up in the middle of the afternoon, well before the temperatures dropped and the winds picked up. VSS Unity was even taken outside into the sunshine after the ceremonies wrapped up.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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