British entrepreneur Richard Branson has unveiled the aircraft that he intends to use to launch the Virgin Galactic spaceship.

The unveiling was carried out at the premises of Scaled Composites, the aerospace firm where the WhiteKnightTwo was built, in the middle of the Californian desert.

WhiteKnightTwo, also named "Eve" after Branson's mother, is equipped with twin fuselages and has a 140-foot wingspan.

It will carry SpaceShipTwo with its cargo of passengers between its two hulls, where at an altitude of around 50,000 feet it will free the spacecraft leaving it to rocket into space.

Although 200 people were reported to have signed up for the $200,000 a ticket experience only six passengers will be able to take the virgin flight.

Passengers that are expected to take the first trip include designer Philippe Starck and physicist Stephen Hawking.