WK2 rollout: first impressions

I was in Mojave earlier today for the White Knight 2 rollout event at Scaled Composites (I just got back a little while ago and am uploading images taken during the event right now.) Initial takes:

  • White Knight 2 is a striking aircraft. It looks just as good – if not better – in person as the illustrations of the airplane earlier this year suggested.
  • There were no groundbreaking announcements at the event. Lots of little news, like a pilot exchange program whereby Virgin America airline pilots will get to train to fly WK2 and SS2, and that Virgin Galactic is up to 270 customers.
  • As in earlier speeches, Virgin Galactic’s Will Whitehorn played up the alternative uses of WK2, including as a launch platform for unmanned rockets for low-cost satellite launches.
  • During the event itself virtually nothing was said about SS2 itself. Afterwards I asked Burt Rutan about the status, and he said that the report about the accident just over one year ago that claimed the lives of three Scaled employees should be released “soon”. He also said they had not done any work on the vehicle since the accident, to avoid having to undo any of it pending the outcome of the investigation.

More details to come, but I wanted to give you some highlights first…

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