Virgin Galactic, helmed by billionaire Richard Branson of the Virgin brand, revealed the cabin interior of the SpaceshipTwo vehicle—‘VSS Unity’—in a virtual event on YouTube. The tourist spaceplane is the world’s first commercial spaceplane being developed.
“It is with great pride that I can lead our talented teams in revealing this latest milestone in our journey to space. The spaceship cabin interior is in many ways the design centrepiece of the astronaut journey and what has been created will both facilitate and elevate a uniquely profound and transformational journey for the thousands who will fly. The fascination with spaceflight is universal and Virgin Galactic is here to satisfy it. We are particularly proud to be able to share this latest milestone with millions around the world, particularly during these unusual times,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic.
Here’s what the main features are for the cabin design, driven on astronaut experience:
- Individually sized, reclining seats for G-force management and float zone volume
- Automated mood lighting harmonises with each flight phase
- Personal seat back screens connect astronauts to live flight data
- Cabin architecture facilitates effortless movement in weightlessness
- 16 cameras provide high definition footage and stills
- 12 cabin windows for astronauts to gaze at Earth from
- Largest mirror in a spaceship cabin – mirror reflects the real-time astronaut experience
SpaceShipTwo’s cabin was deliberately sized to allow for an out-of-seat weightlessness experience for the astronauts on board. To further elevate the experience of floating in zero-gravity, the cabin includes a large, circular mirror on the aft bulkhead (an upright wall within the hull of a ship) which allows you to view yourself weightless while illuminated by the natural brightness of the Earth.
Individually sized seats were created using the highest-grade aluminium and carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques. There is also a pilot-controlled recline mechanism which positions you to manage G-forces on boost and re-entry. It additionally frees up cabin space to maximise an unrestricted astronaut float zone when in zero gravity.
The lining of the cabin itself is lightweight and soft with a honeycomb structure. It not only improves thermal and acoustic qualities to the cabin, but it will give passengers a soft touch as they explore the cabin while weightless.
The cabin also has 17 windows. 12 of them are bordered by ‘Halo’ edges that will help you hang on to them while you look at the view. Multi-color LEDs are concealed within the ‘Halo’ windows and are used to subtly reflect back human responses to each of the contrasting stages of flight. For example, as the Earth comes into view against the black sky of space, all lighting is extinguished to bring the focus to the natural view of Earth.
The spaceplane will also have seatback screens that provide digital flight data to each passenger. They will also have a direct connection to the two space pilots.
If you’re interested in being one of the first passengers of Virgin Galactic, you’re actually able to register by paying a fully refundable registration fee of USD1,000 (RM4,245). Once deposited, you will be in line for any newly released spaceflight reservations.