SpaceShipTwo spaceliners from Virgin Galactic will offer passengers a ride to the edge of space for just $200,000.
"2008 really will be the year of the spaceship," said British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, who unveiled a 1/16th-scale model of the new spacecraft at the American Museum of Natural History. "We're truly excited about our new system and what our new system will be able to do."
Take a look at this very nicely done animation of a trip on a SpaceShipTwo spaceliner.
...unlike SpaceShipOne, which launched from beneath its single-cabin WhiteKnight carrier, the new craft will drop from a twin-cabin high-altitude jet that can double as a space tourist training craft. WhiteKnightTwo carries four engines and a wingspan of about 140 feet (42 meters), rivaling a B-29 bomber, and is built to handle unmanned rockets capable of launching small satellites into orbit, Virgin Galactic officials said.
The first use of the phrase "space liner" is probably from John W. Campbell's short story Electronic Siege, published in a 1932 edition of Wonder Stories.
I'm also particularly fascinated with the details of the excellent animation shown above; take a look at the zero G counter:
(Gravity meter zero G counter from Virgin Galactic spaceliner)