Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, LLC were the first planes to dock at Virgin America's new San Francisco International Airport terminal.
Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson, is developing a sub-orbital craft designed to take tourists above the Earth's atmosphere, and operate a viable commercial space business in the process
Instead of firing a rocket from the ground up, Virgin Galactic uses an aircraft, called WhiteKnightTwo. The aircraft operates as a mother ship, carrying SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 50,000 feet, where it fires a rocket to reach suborbital space, an altitude of about 68 miles (110 kilometers).
For the first time we've brought the spaceship and WhiteKnight to a commercial airport.... It's just a fantastic, exciting day, says an obviously amped-up Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. Before he was the company's CEO, Whitesides was one of the first people to sign up for a $200,000 ticket to ride on the space plane.
Commercial flights will begin in a year or two, Whitesides added.
Virgin Galactic says it already has reservations; a single ticket costs $200,000. The craft itself has room for a crew of two and six passengers, who would fly for a total of about three hours and experience several minutes of weightlessness.