Dolphinzilla writes "According to Space.com, Northrop Grumman Corporation agreed on July 5 to increase its stake in Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites (designers of Space Ship One, Proteus) from 40 percent to 100 percent. They have purchased the company outright, marking a new future for the space pioneering firm. 'Scaled Composites currently is working with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic venture on a vehicle designated for now as SpaceShipTwo, which would carry two pilots and six paying passengers into suborbital space for a few minutes of weightlessness. The company also is building a new carrier aircraft, dubbed WhiteKnight2, that will carry SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 15 kilometers before releasing it to soar to suborbital space. The two companies last year formed a joint venture called the Spaceship Company to build the new vehicles.'"