Virgin Galactic shows off its new spaceship, VSS Unity

Ruben Fields
July 31, 2020

Virgin Galactic, which is the branch of Virgin dedicated to developing space tourism, first displayed their cabin design to the world in a dramatic YouTube livestream on Tuesday morning, complete with a countdown to the grand reveal.

As part of the unveiling of the cabin Virgin has released an augmented reality app that lets users view the cabin and seats in their own room.

SpaceShipTwo was formulated at Virgin Galactic amenities in Mojave, California, and will run commercially from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, where by passengers will undertake quite a few times of teaching just before their flights.

Virgin Galactic has already sold out of its first batch of tickets, which cost $250,000 a ride for a 60-mile journey above earth. The interior space offers each customer "safety without distraction, quietly absorbing periods of sensory intensity and offering each astronaut a level of intimacy required for personal discovery and transformation".

Virgin Galactic was founded by British billionaire Richard Branson after the prize-winning flights of the experimental SpaceShipOne in 2004. "A pilot-controlled recline mechanism, optimally positions astronauts to manage G-forces on boost and re-entry and frees up cabin space to maximize an unrestricted astronaut float zone when in zero gravity".

It also made use of engineered foam and fabrics within the seats, designed and developed by Under Armour using the same 3D knit found in the flight suits.

'The colour palette of the cabin has been carefully curated so that it complements the architecture of the seat, the cabin itself and spacesuits, ' Virgin said.

SpaceShipTwo's cabin was deliberately sized to allow for an out-of-seat weightlessness experience for the astronauts on board.

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It will then orbit the red planet for two to three months before attempting a landing. Ouyang also elaborated on the scientific tasks of the mission.

Multi-color LEDs are concealed within the "Halo" window surrounds and are used to subtly reflect back the human responses to each of the contrasting stages of flight. However, when Earth comes into view against the blackness of space, all lighting will be switched off to allow for an uninterrupted view.

Each seat includes seatback displays to show information about the flight, according to the company.

Virgin Galactic said the cabin was designed specifically to allow for an "out-of-seat weightless experience". Soft cabin surfaces and elements become intuitive hand and footholds, allowing astronauts to explore the cabin freely and fully.

"That's what our customers want", Virgin Galactic chief space officer George Whitesides told CNN Business' Rachel Crane.

In addition to picture-inviting mirror, 16 high definition cameras dotted around the cabin will capture every moment for a "beautifully edited historically significant personal movie".

The cabin is closed in with a large circular mirror in the aft bulkhead, allowing passengers to observe themselves in the natural brightness of the Earth, as all lighting is to be extinguished at the highest point of the flight.

At or above 45,000 feet, the carrier plane drops the spacecraft, which then ignites its rocket engine, propelling its two pilots and six passengers to an altitude of more than 68 miles above the Earth.

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