Billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism firm Virgin Galactic revealed the interior of its centerpiece space plane on Tuesday, showing off a cabin with new custom seats and a “space mirror” in a virtual tour of what its passengers can expect to experience on flights to the edge of space.
For $250,000 a ticket, passengers who have signed up for the suborbital flight aboard the air-launched plane VSS Unity will strap into six tailored, teal-coloured seats and peer out of the cabin’s 12 circular windows as they ascend some 60 miles (97 km) above Earth. The plane has five other windows up front.
“We have amazing seats that will be tailored to each person, and that move during the flight to maximize people’s comfort,” Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer George Whitesides told Reuters, adding that passengers can unbuckle themselves at peak altitude to float around the cabin in zero-gravity conditions.
This undated photo released by Virgin Galactic shows the interior of their SpaceshipTwo Cabin during a flight. Highly detailed amenities to enhance the customer experience were shown in an online event Tuesday, July 28, 2020, revealing the cabin of the company’s rocket plane, a type called SpaceShipTwo, which is undergoing testing in preparation for commercial service. There are a dozen windows for viewing, seats capable of being customized to each of six passengers and mood lighting.
The company has 600 customers signed up to fly and more than 400 more who have expressed interest, Whitesides said. It has not set a firm date for its first commercial space flight, with its British founder Branson expected to be aboard.
ALSO SEE | PHOTOS: Virgin Galactic unveils space plane’s cabin, poised for commercial flights
The cabin, revealed in a virtual-reality headset the company provided to journalists and paying customers, also features a large, circular mirror “to allow our customers to see themselves in space in a way that has really never been done before,” Whitesides said.
The plane, attached to a bigger carrier plane, is intended to take off from the company’s New Mexico spaceport and detach mid-air to launch further toward the edge of space in a trip lasting 90 minutes.
The interior cabin of billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism firm Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is seen in an artist’s rendition released July 28, 2020.
Virgin Galactic is on track to clear its final testing milestones to obtain a commercial operating license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration after it conducts “a small number of flights” carrying four test passengers, Whitesides told a news briefing.
Whitesides said Virgin Galactic may temporarily increase ticket prices from $250,000 in the future but hopes someday to make the experience more affordable to “as many people as possible.”
Virgin Galactic went public in October after merging with Social Capital Hedosophia, the special-purpose acquisition vehicle run by early Facebook Inc executive and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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