Virgin Galactic reveals SpaceShipTwo, plans commercial space flights in 2011

We've been waiting an awful long time for this day to come, and now we're doing our darndest to rush away 2010. Today, Sir Richard Branson officially took the wraps off of a spacecraft that we initially peeked back in June of 2008: the SpaceShipTwo. Designed to hold six passengers and two pilots, this magnificent craft will reportedly be ready to ship wealthy tourists into space as early as 2011. Reportedly, the craft will be taken up to launch altitude by the WhiteKnightTwo, after which the 2.5 hour tour will take patrons high enough to experience around 5 minutes of weightlessness. Of course, the ship still has an awful lot of regulatory passing to do, and the Spaceport America in New Mexico still has to be built, but it's nothing short of fantastic to see the wheels turning in the right direction. Just think -- you can finally tell you kid that an aeronautical engineering degree isn't required to leave the atmosphere. Future, we heart thee.

P.S. - Peek that MSNBC link for the unveiling shots!