Aircraft designer Burt Rutan has started a company to build commercial spacecraft, as he promised to do at this year's Intel Developer Forum, and has picked Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group as a partner.
It will develop the Space Ship Two and White Knight Two systems that will form the basis for a fleet of sub-orbital spacecraft.
"This will truly herald an era of personal spaceflight first described by the visionary science fiction writers of the 1940s and 1950s," said Rutan.
"Richard [Branson] and I share a vision that commercially viable and safe space tourism will provide the foundation for the human colonisation of space.
"I am looking forward (actually looking way up!) to working with Richard on this next exciting phase."
The company also designed the GlobalFlyer which became the first jet to circumnavigate the earth without stopping.
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