VMS Eve Maiden Flight.jpg
VMS Eve's maiden flight
Role Spaceship carrier / launcher
National origin United States
Manufacturer Scaled Composites
Designer Robert Morgan, James Tighe[1][2]
First flight 21 December 2008
Primary user Virgin Galactic
Number built 1
Developed from White Knight One
Type WhiteKnightTwo
Construction number 001
Registration N348MS

VMS Eve (Tail number: N348MS[3]) is a carrier mothership for Virgin Galactic and launch platform for SpaceShipTwo-based Virgin SpaceShips.

WhiteKnightTwo at its rollout and christening ceremony, July 28, 2008

VMS Eve was built by Scaled Composites for Virgin Galactic. The "VMS" prefix stands for "Virgin MotherShip".[4]

Public launch

VMS Eve's nose art

The aircraft was named after Evette Branson, the mother of Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group. The jet plane has nose art of a blonde woman holding a banner with the Virgin Galactic logo.[5] The image is based on how Evette Branson looked when she was younger and is called Galactic Girl.[6] The aircraft was officially launched on July 28, 2008, in Mojave, California, the United States, at the Mojave Spaceport, home of Scaled Composites. On December 12, 2008, the aircraft performed first taxi tests,[7] and a week later the maiden flight.[8] Eve is being used in the Virgin Galactic testflight program, preceding entry into commercial usage.[9]

Burt Rutan has dismissed fears that pressurization cycles might induce fatigue failure in the composite structure.[10] Richard Branson has also announced that it will be highly fuel efficient.[11]

Flight test program

The initial flight occurred on 12 December 2008, after an initial low speed taxi test was carried out at Mojave[12] followed by a high speed taxi on 16 December.[13] By September 2009 the flight envelope was extended to 50000 feet.[14] as of 19 September 2014 the total flight time for WhiteKnightTwo is 333.96 hours.


  1. ^ US patent D612791, Morgan, Robert & Tighe, James, "U.S. Design Patent 612,719 for the ornamental design for an aircraft", issued 2010-03-30 
  2. ^ "WK2 Rollout Audio Clips (parts 4 & 6)". Movaje Skies. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  3. ^ "FAA N Number Registration for "Eve"". Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  4. ^ CNet News, Virgin Galactic's faces of Eve, July 28, 2008 1:08 PM PDT, Candace Lombardi
  5. ^ Sher, Lauren (July 28, 2008). "Virgin Galactic Announces New Space Aircraft". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2017-08-19. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  6. ^ Chicago Tribune, Branson reveals mother ship, July 29, 2008
  7. ^ AVweb, WhiteKnight2 Completes Taxi Test, December 16, 2008
  8. ^ The Space Fellowship, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Mothership Makes Maiden Flight, December 21, 2008
  9. ^ The Register, Branson unveils Virgin Galactic mothership, Tuesday 29th July 2008 10:32 UTC, Scott Snowden
  10. ^ Rob Coppinger (29 July 2008)"Rutan: Fatigue 'is not an issue' for WhiteKnightTwo", Flightglobal
  11. ^ National Geographic, Virgin Galactic Unveils WhiteKnightTwo Space Plane, July 28, 2008, Ker Than
  12. ^ Coppinger, Rob (13 Dec 2008). "World Exclusive Video: SpaceShipTwo mothership runway trial". London. Retrieved 2008-12-16. Source: Flight International
  13. ^ Coppinger, Rob (17 Dec 2008). "Exclusive Video: WhiteKnightTwo makes high speed taxi, deploys spoilers". London. Retrieved 2008-12-23. Source: Flight International
  14. ^ Coppinger, Rob (30 April 2009), Scaled plans 50,000ft WhiteKnight Two flight by September, London, Source: Flight International
  • BBC News, Branson unveils space tourism jet, 20:42 UTC, Monday, 28 July 2008 UK
  • Los Angeles Times, Richard Branson unveils his space plane, July 29, 2008, Peter Pae
  • Wired, Virgin Galactic Unveils White Knight Two Launch Vehicle, 07.29.08,Dave Bullock
  • New York Times, New Steps in Private Space Travel, July 29, 2008, John Schwartz
  • Reuters, Branson unveils plane to launch spaceship, Mon Jul 28, 2008 Fred Prouser
  • Associated Press, New space race heats up with unveiling of aircraft[permanent dead link], Alicia Chang
  • Scientific American, Forget the Dark Knight--the White Knight Two mothership has arrived, Jul 28, 2008 Adam Hadhazy
  • New Scientist, Virgin Galactic rolls out SpaceShipTwo's 'mothership', 28 July 2008, Rachel Courtland
  • Telegraph, Sir Richard Branson unveils Virgin's spaceship, 29 Jul 2008, James Quinn

External links

  • Virgin Galactic - news
  • Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic Rolls Out Mothership Eve - Jul 28, 2008 Press Release