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Virgin Galactic unveil new VSS Unity spaceship

By Daniel Uria   |   Feb. 20, 2016 at 3:10 PM

MOJAVE, Calif., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Virgin Galactic unveiled its new SpaceShipTwo model spacecraft, called the VSS Unity, during an event at the Mojave Air and Space Port on Friday.

Richard Branson's company debuted the new vehicle during a ceremony as a replacement for the SpaceShip two model that crashed during a test flight in November 2014.

Professor Stephen Hawking gave the ship the name "Unity" and said, "I would be very proud to fly on this spaceship."

"Space exploration has already been a great unifier – we seem able to cooperate between nations in space in a way we can only envy on Earth," Hawking said. "We are entering a new space age and I hope this will help to create a new unity."

Virgin Glactic said after the crash of the first SpaceShip Two model the Unity will undergo rigorous testing and calling the unveiling "a ground-based celebration" in a statement on Thursday.

While it may be some time before unity leaves the ground, Bronson stood by his goal to make space more accessible.

"Our beautiful new spaceship, VSS Unity, is the embodiment of that goal and will provide us with an unprecedented body of experience which will in turn lay the foundations for Virgin Galactic's future," he said. "Her creation is also a great testament to what can be achieved when true teamwork, great skill and deep pride are combined with a common purpose."

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