Virgin Galactic Unveils Cabin of SpaceShipTwo, a Tourist Spaceliner

Peek inside SpaceShipTwo, a lavish spacecraft the travel giant will use to ferry travelers on suborbital journeys around Earth’s atmosphere.

All images courtesy of Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic has made major headway on the development of SpaceShipTwo, a space vehicle the travel giant will use to take passengers on suborbital journeys around Earth’s atmosphere and back. More than 15 years after Virgin Galactic was founded by Richard Branson, the company finally reveals interiors of its hotly anticipated spacecraft VSS Unity. The company tapped London design studio Seymourpowell, which has experience designing private jet interiors but “purposely didn’t look to aviation or automotive for inspiration,” Jeremy White, the agency’s director of transport, told The Verge. Rather, they started with a clean slate that takes cues from Virgin Atlantic airplanes.

Frequent fliers often contend with limited personal space, but SpaceShipTwo makes the most out of cozy dimensions with amenities that perhaps justify the $250,000 price tag for a journey. Each moodlit spacecraft features eight seats, made out of aluminum and carbon fiber, which will be adjusted specifically to fit each passenger’s body measurements to ensure safe harnessing against high gravitational forces. Giant circular windows, meanwhile, offer stellar views back down to Earth. Sometime on the journey, passengers will be released from their chairs to freely float around the cabin, with seats reclining as flat as possible to remove obstacles from the “zero-gravity playground.” On-board cameras record the experience for souvenirs, and a large interior mirror lets passengers witness themselves floating in space firsthand.

Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 and hoped to start flying passengers in 2009, but its development was beset by logistical and financial difficulties, with a 2014 test flight even proving deadly. While a major leap forward and a challenge to space tourism competitors SpaceX and Blue Origin, subsidiaries of Tesla and Amazon, respectively, no launch date has been set for the first commercial flight. Branson, who is expected to be aboard for the inaugural trip, has been itching to launch himself into space for some time. In a 2016 interview with Surface, he said “I love a challenge and the initial one was to build a spacecraft that our families can go into space on. Seven hundred engineers are now working on it and we’re building rockets and satellites.” Three years later, he predicted the first trip would happen “in months, not years.” While that timeline appears to still be a bit ambitious, the reveal of SpaceShipTwo is a giant leap forward for the coming age of space tourism.

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