All about "Eve": Virgin Galactic mothership unveiled.

Today was an amazing day out at Mojave Spaceport.

Burt Rutan, Sir Richard Branson, and a bevy of space celebs (including Dr. Buzz Aldrin) gathered for the launch of Virgin Galactic's twin-hulled mothership, "Eve," named after Sir Richard's own mom -- who formally christened WhiteKnightTwo with the pop of a champagne bottle. Branson explained that the spaceliner was also named "Eve" because she was conceived as an historic first for humankind.

The Boing Boing tv crew was there, and we'll be airing video hijinks later this week.

For now... here are a few random iphone snaps, and I twittered until my daggone fingers fell off (first tweet in series, and last tweet in series).

Here is coverage from other blog-pals we ran into out there:

  • Mojave historian and photographer Alan Radecki has posts up at MOJAVE SKIES
  • GIZMODO's Brian Lam took some fantastic photos (including some goof-off shots I dumped on Flickr), and has a dreamy little video up.
  • Over at WIRED: Photographer Dave Bullock and astrobiologist/space evangelist Loretta Hidalgo checked in with images and first-person accounts. She's going on the maiden voyage with her husband, George T. Whitesides of the National Space Society, for their honeymoon. Dude. Tell me that's not cool. Update: More from Bullock here.
  • The fine fellas at JAUNTED.
  • More photos from Dave Malkoff of CBS News.
  • (Space-helmet-tip of thanks: Charles Ogilvie and Abby Lunardini)


    1. I hear Brian Lam is planning to turn it off with a remote control as soon as it takes off.

    2. I don’t think it reaches orbit. Pretty cool, though, none the less. I’m all about the commercialization of space travel…anything to keep it from being the exclusive domain of nation states…I just hope we can keep the pepsi logo off the moon. I gotta short story where a post apocalyptic religion worships the moon-logo. Then they find an old vending machine and…

      never mind

    3. I want to be excited, but I have no idea what I’m looking at!

      Is it a huge airplane? A spaceship? Something awesome?!!

      Whatever the case, I like the stencils.

      (also: could Virgin’s marketers be any better at using the bloggosphere?)

    4. No one has yet mentioned the gravity-defying breasts on the aircraft pin-up girl?!?! Perhaps because the white of her uniform blends into the background.
      Just doesn’t seem right to me.

    5. @Cuvtixo: That’s because you’ve never been in space before. It’ll all make sense in time.

    6. That gave me a weird brainfarty moment: Isn’t George Whiteside’s wife named Barbie? And why didn’t she say she was going to space? She gets carsick so easily…
      Oh. THAT George Whitesides.

    7. Has that thing been test-flown yet? Also, does anyone know the rates Mojave is going to charge for launch pads & rocket fuel? Just curious.

    8. Mark my words. This is the first step on a path that ends with a razor-girl assassinating 3Richard in his orbiting pleasure dome.


    9. @Linds: Orbit? No, it’s the same deal as SS1, zzzzooom straight up to 100km, float about taking pictures of yourselves for five or ten minutes, fall straight back down to earth.

      @Aliasundercover: No it’s not flown yet. The smaller proof-of-concept Spaceship One did two “space” hops, enough to win the X Prize.

      I don’t know why, but this whole project brings out the curmudgeonly old grinch in me. Possibly because so many of the NASA-bashing “let the private sector colonise Mars” nutters think it’s the way of the future rather than a millionnaire’s self-indulgence. *shrug* It’s cool and all, and in a hypothetical parallel universe where I get super-rich I’d probably quite like a trip in it – once they’ve done forty or fifty accident-free flights, of course.

    10. #15: Imipak, thanks for making the necessary responses.

      And the whole millionaire’s self-indulgence thing: Yeah, I guess it is, but it’s still wonderful. Also, competition is almost always healthy. If NASA (and the other public space agencies) start to be upstaged by the private sector, it will drive their respective governments to put more funding into them, and the entire drive into space progresses more quickly.

      I’m totally with you on the last sentence. Lol – I really want it to succeed, but I’ll believe it when they’ve had 50 or so safe flights.

      (Didn’t SS1 spin out of control for some time during one of the X prize flights?)

    11. (Didn’t SS1 spin out of control for some time during one of the X prize flights?)

      On the first X-Prize attempt flight they experienced a roll caused by asymmetric thrust from the rocket motor at the end of the burn.

      SS1 was exiting the atmosphere when the roll occured so the ailerons weren’t effective enough to stop it. The pilot nulled out the roll using a compressed gas reaction control system after exiting the atmosphere.

    12. This is definitely a “wonderful thing” – thanks in advance for the deeper story.

      I saw the headline on Drudge yesterday, with a tiny pic of Branson embracing and kissing the cheek of a platinum-haired woman next to the ‘mothership.’ I was almost certain I recognized the woman as Xeni, but found no mention of her or any larger version of that photo on the linked story. I chalked it up to coincidence. I guess I was correct after all.

      Well, congrats on making the front page of Drudge in a positive story; for most that is a more ignominious honor.

    13. Didn’t SS1 spin out of control for some time during one of the X prize flights?

      Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.

    14. querent, your story sounds like a futurama episode in the making. i’d like to read it.

    15. How can they pretend that a sexy white sort-of-spacecraft called Eve is named after Branson’s mum? Clearly it’s named after Eve from Wall-E.

    16. I saw some video of one of Branson’s interviews (on Russian news TV broadcast in Australia), Xeni was very prominently standing behind Branson (slightly behind him and to his left, right side of the frame), doing the ‘supportive comrade) look. Just knew it would be posted about on BB.

      Branson has certainly been no slouch when it comes to using various media channels to promote himself, didn’t Colbert do some stories on the new planes (as well as BB iirc)?

    17. Xeni is on the front page of the Drudge Report right now (Monday Aug 4, 8pmish) in behind Branson in a picture of Eve getting sprayed with champagne.

      (Not sure if you think being on Drudge is exciting or ignominious, but I thought I’d let you all know)

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