Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson noted during today’s revelations, “This is a big moment because this event can be virtual because its importance is beginning in an open space for all.” “It is, designed specifically to allow thousands of people to safely achieve their spaceflight dreams.”
“Someone once told me that the Virgin Galactic spaceship was the first to be built from the inside out,” he continued. “There is a degree of poetic license in that statement, but there is a fundamental truth in it. We started what we believed would be an optimal customer experience. And then we built spaceships around it.
Virgin Galactic teamed up with the UK’s design firm, SeymourPowell, to develop an “elegant and progressive, experience-focused concept”, according to a Tuesday press release to develop the vehicle’s interior. The individual, recurring seats will be made of aluminum and carbon fiber to stand the Sub-3G built by the vehicle’s engine. The screens in the seatback will not show the latest Win Diesel bombs, but will instead display live flight data from 16 HD cameras mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. Those videos and pictures will also be made available after the flight for sharing on social media. Astronauts who want to see the planet for themselves will be able to stare from any window in any of the 12 cabins. Since the whole point of these trips is to let people experience weightlessness, the cabin is covered in softer surfaces and homes, such as the “halo” rim around each window. And, like Virgin Atlantic flights, Unity will be equipped with mood lighting that transitions between each stage of the journey.
Virgin Galactic has come a long way since a fatal crash during flight tests, forcing the company to temporarily suspend the project (and the sale of tickets aboard the spacecraft) back in 2014. After rebuilding the vehicle, Virgin Galactic successfully made its way into space in 2018. Ticket sales resumed in February of this year when the company launched its One Small Step program, in which wealthy astronauts could deposit $ 1,000 to jump in front of the reservation queue. The tickets were originally expected to cost around $ 250,000, though the then CEO George Whitside warned that the development of the flight system could result in rapid price increases.
In June of this year, SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its second glide test, reaching Mach. 85 and clearing the way for flight tests to be conducted in the near future. Last week, Virgin Galactic announced that it had hired former Disney executive Michael Colgazier as its new CEO, replacing Whitside who now serves as the company’s chief space officer.