Well, now that the dust has settled a little, here are a few choice bits from various media about the White Knight 2 rollout this morning in Mojave...
WhiteKnightTwo is a dual-hull quad-engine aircraft roughly three times larger than the original WhiteKnight. WK2 employs a different tail construction, using a cruciform instead of the WK's "T" style. The engines and cockpits are also located in different areas compared to the original WhiteKnight.
WK2 is the world's first all-composite full-sized aircraft. Everything apart from the engines and landing gear is constructed from ultra-lightweight composite materials. Even the newly patented flight control cables are made from carbon fiber.
"This is a big airplane," said Scaled Composites founder, Burt Rutan, and Chief Technology Officer and Chairman Emeritus of the company. "It is not an inappropriate claim to say this is the largest all-composite airplane," he told SPACE.com.
- WhiteKnight and SpaceShipTwo can launch higher in altitude than the first ships, but the SpaceShip can't grab enough atmosphere any higher than the previous launch point, so can't go as high this way. So they drop the SpaceShip payload at the same altitude.
- As far as bases go, after New Mexico, they'll open a spaceport in Sweden, and they're talking to Spain and the Far East.
- Who can go on this? Because its suborbital, we can make the flight only 2-3Gs instead of 5Gs and so older people like Sir Richard's parents, Stephen Hawking and others are going to try going.
- Food? Their solution is not feeding you at all. Probably for vomit concerns.