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Virgin Galactic wants you to get close up with SpaceShipTwo rocket engine



 Back in SpaceShipTwo Rocket Motor that went to space at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

The hybrid rocket motor from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will be on display in Washington, DC, in 2024. Until then, it'll remain in Chantilly, Virginia.


Eric Long / Courtesy of the Smithsonian's
                                                

Richard Branson's commercial spaceflight made with the craft, named VSS Unity, when he skimmed The Edge of Space in December.

The rocket engine was donated to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, which will be released on Monday, and it is exhibiting in its Future of Spaceflight gallery.

Unfortunately, that gallery does not open until 2024 so the engine will be displayed at the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Chantilly, Virginia, for now. It's likely the Smithsonian wants to gather items from other private spaceflight companies, like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, in the meantime.


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Virgin space plane skims the edge of space
                



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"The desire to explore space has been an inspiration since time began and, in recent decades, an incredible catalyst for innovation," Branson said in a release.

"I hope our donation also wants to play a small part in inspiring the thousands of visitors as they pass through the new gallery in years to come."

Virgin Galactic plans to take up space tourists, Branson saying last summer he intends to be one of the first passengers. We also know that they'll be Wearing Under Armor gear.

The test flight in December put Galactic in front of a private space tourism race. SpaceX has ambitious plans to carry passengers around the moon and the Blue Origin is conducting rocket tests, but both rival companies have yet to carry humans into space.

First published Feb. 11, 2019, 8:51 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:48 p.m. PT: Adds more background information.


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