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Witness the spectacle of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo unveiling

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Yesterday, Virgin Galactic showed off its new SpaceShipTwo vehicle, called the VSS Unity, in a flashy and slightly absurd ceremony at the Mojave Air and Spaceport in California. The company decked out one of the spaceport’s test hangars into something reminiscent of a night club for the event; dark blue lighting flashed and loud theatrical music swelled when SpaceShipTwo emerged from behind a large black curtain. The vehicle was then pulled forward into the center of the hangar by a white Land Rover carrying Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who waved his hands about wildly.

The spectacle was enhanced by the presence of a few celebrities at the hangar, including Harrison Ford and thrill seeker Jeb Corliss. Branson also played an audio clip from Stephen Hawking when the vehicle was on full display. The famous theoretical physicist, who has already booked a ride to space with Virgin Galactic, was the one to come up with the name Unity. “Space exploration has already been a great unifier,” Hawking said in the clip. "We seem to be able to cooperate between nations in space in a way we can only envy on Earth."

Check out the highlights from the event below, including a moment when Branson's granddaughter christens the spacecraft with a bottle of baby's milk.


SpaceShipTwo is designed to take two pilots and six passengers into sub-orbital space.