Burt Rutan, Richard Branson, Virgin
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Richard Branson and Burt Rutan’s space plane

Burt Rutan, Richard Branson, Virgin
Richard Branson, left, and Burt Rutan unveil a plane that they say will serve as the mothership for the world’s first commercial spaceflight. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Richard Branson, space plane. Mojave
Richard Branson’s space plane will carry a rocket ship up to 48,000 feet in the atmosphere, where it will detach and launch into space. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Burt Rutan, space plane, Virgin, Mojave
Aircraft designer Burt Rutan helped design and build the space plane. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Richard Branson, space plane
Artwork on the fuselage of Richard Branson’s space plane shows various aspects of humankind’s designs on flying. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Mojave, space plane
About 150 reporters were on hand at a Mojave airfield for the rollout of the space plane. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Space plane, Richard Branson, Burt Rutan
More than 250 wanna-be astronauts have paid Richard Branson $200,000 for a chance to float weightless in space. The first leg of their journey would be aboard the pace plane unveiled in Mojave. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
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