Virgin Galactic has revealed the cabin interior of its first SpaceShipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity, in a virtual event streamed live on YouTube
Aspiring astronauts and space enthusiasts around the world now have the opportunity to explore the Virgin Galactic cabin design and spaceflight experience through an augmented reality enabled mobile app, which launched after the live event, and is available to download for free at both the App Store and Play Store.
One of the defining hallmarks of the Virgin brand over 50 years, has been the use of inspired and bold design to transform the customer experience. It’s an ethos that has been successfully applied across industrial sectors and design disciplines: from aircraft cabins and hotel bedrooms to fitness classes and personal banking.
Virgin Galactic, in collaboration with London Design Agency, Seymour Powell, has striven to remain faithful to that tradition by developing an elegant but progressive, experience-focused concept for the cabin of its spaceship. While it has been created to integrate seamlessly with every other aspect of the Virgin Galactic astronaut journey, the cabin is also the design centrepiece; providing safety without distraction, quietly absorbing periods of sensory intensity and offering each astronaut a level of intimacy required for personal discovery and transformation.
The textures, colours and structures within the cabin create an elegance, underlined by purpose which will inspire a sense of confidence in astronauts from the moment they board the spaceship on the day of flight.
Individually sized seats, created using the highest-grade aluminium and carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques, reinforce this sense. The importance of comfort to optimize performance is accentuated by the use of engineered foam and technical fabric finishing’s. The 3D knits, developed by Under Armour, are woven with blues conjuring celestial spaces, and teals inspired by the ocean, grounding travellers back to Earth. The golden metallics resemble luminous desert sands. The color palette has been carefully curated so that it complements the architecture of the seat, the cabin itself and the astronaut spacesuits, also developed by Under Armour.
Each seat has been engineered to match the dynamism of the flight. 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 G.
Virgin pioneered mood lighting on its commercial aircraft, and that idea has been translated by Virgin Galactic, into the new era of commercial spaceflight. Multi-color LEDs are concealed within the “Halo” window surrounds and are used to subtly reflect back and therefore elevate, the human responses to each of the contrasting stages of flight. At the pinnacle of the experience, as the Earth comes into view against the black sky of space, all lighting is extinguished, bringing an instant focus to the profoundly beautiful vista.
Virgin Galactic’s current community of 600 Future Astronauts has always been clear that having photos and videos of their spaceflight experience to share, is of paramount importance. The output from 16 cabin cameras, plus those in the cockpit and mounted externally, will generate high definition output to provide everything from the first Instagram posts, to a beautifully edited and historically significant personal movie.
To further elevate the experience of floating in zero-gravity, the cabin includes a first for space travel, a large, circular mirror on the aft bulkhead which, by adding a tint to the reflective surface, allows astronauts to view themselves weightless while illuminated by the natural brightness of the Earth.
Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic said: “In just my second week as Virgin Galactic’s CEO, 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 beto share this latest milestone with millions around the world, particularly during these unusual times. We hope the new app, with cutting-edge AR technology will help bring the dream of space one step closer for space enthusiasts everywhere.”
Aspiring astronauts can bring their dream of spaceflight one step closer by joining the Virgin Galactic Spacefarer community today. For a $1,000 refundable deposit, they will be front of line for newly released spaceflight reservations. Head over to Virgin Galactic to find out more.