Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship – in pictures

British entrepreneur Richard Branson poses with the first SpaceShipTwo at a Virgin Galactic hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. Virgin Galactic is preparing to resume flight testing for the first time since a 2014 accident destroyed the original and killed one of its two pilots. Reed Saxon / AP Photo

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

US actor Harrison Ford poses with a life-size cardboard cutout of Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson after the unveiling ceremony of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTWO. EPA

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

The company underscored that commercial space flights would not be available until Virgin Galactic was satisfied it could carry them out safely. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters


Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

The company’s goal is to take customers to the edge of space, more than 62 miles above Earth. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

Richard Branson (centre) poses with his mother Eve (centre, right)) and future astronauts after unveiling the new SpaceShipTwo. Reuters

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson thanks Virgin Galactic workers during the unveiling ceremony. EPA

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

Despite the hefty $250,000 price tag, more than 600 would-be astronauts have already signed up, including Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher. Mark Terrill / AP Photo

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

Testing on the SpaceShipTwo, which Mr Branson said was constructed by a team of 650 engineers, will begin with the electrical system and moving parts, followed by flights attached to the WhiteKnightTwo mothership before progressing to glide testing. EPA

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

The new craft may one day carry six passengers on three-hour suborbital flights, offering them the possibility of momentary weightlessness and unparalleled views of Earth. EPA

Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic shows off new passenger spaceship - in pictures

Wreckage lies near the site where a Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo, crashed in the desert near Mojave, California in 2014. One of the two pilots aboard was killed. Ringo HW Chiu / AP Photo

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