Exclusive SpaceShipTwo unveiling gallery

The world's first commercial spacecraft was officially unveiled on Monday afternoon.

Photos shot for Boing Boing by Alan Radecki, photographer and Mojave aviation and space historian.

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The craft will take six tourists at a time to the edge of space. Each seat is $200,000, requires the traveler to pass a strenuous physical, and offers just a few minutes of zero-G flight.

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The Mojave desert is home to Virgin Galactic's research and development base. Its commercial spaceport is to be built in New Mexico.

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Entrepreneur Richard Branson and engineer Burt Rutan's dream is to kickstart private space exploration. Test flights will begin almost immediately.

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Earlier in the day, an ice-sculptor's work reflects similarly cold conditions two hours east of L.A., lashed by heavy rains before the unveiling.

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Journalists gathered for the event, bussed out on coaches to what one correspondent described as a "goat rodeo."

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Guests were evacuated early from the event due to wind advisory, Radecki said ... "Current winds, 53, gusting to 60!"

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson were among the attendees.

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The "badminton cock" design allows SpaceShipTwo to re-enter the atmosphere as slower speeds than the Shuttle, producing less heat.

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Branson, Rutan and their families will get to enjoy the first official journey into space. There's already a huge list of reservations for the twice-daily flights thereafter.

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