VIRGIN Galactic has unveiled the sci-fi cabin where passengers will one day gaze at Earth after paying $250,000 (£175,000) for a ticket to space.
“Ultimately, the interior of the spaceship was designed with one primary goal in mind, and that is to get the perfect view of Earth from space,” the company said in a teaser video published earlier this month.
“It’s a big moment because although the event may be virtual its significance is starting to open space to everyone is very real,” Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson, noted during today’s reveal. “It is, which has been designed specifically to allow thousands of people to achieve their dreams of spaceflight safely.”
“Somebody once said to me the Virgin Galactic spaceship was the first one to be built from the inside out,” he continued. “There is a degree of poetic license in that statement but it contains a fundamental truth. We started with what we believed would be an optimal customer experience. And then we built the spaceship around it.”
Twelve cameras will provide high-definition footage of the flight, while passengers will soak up views of Earth through the cabin’s 17 windows.
After the plans were announced, Sir Richard said: “When we created Virgin Galactic, we started with what we believed would be an optimal customer experience and then built the spaceship around it.
“We will continue with that ethos as we expand our fleet, build our operations and underpin Virgin Galactic’s position as the spaceline for Earth.
“This cabin has been designed specifically to allow thousands of people like you and me to achieve the dream of spaceflight safely – and that is incredibly exciting.”
Its space plane SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots on zero-gravity flights lasting a few minutes before returning and landing at Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Following the stream, Virgin Galactic also released an augmented reality mobile app showcasing the cabin design and spaceflight experience.
Michael Colglazier, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, said: “The spaceship cabin interior will both facilitate and elevate a uniquely profound and transformational journey for the thousands who will fly.
“We are particularly proud to be able to share this latest milestone with millions around the world, particularly during these unusual times.”
In June of this year, SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its second glide test, reaching Mach .85 and clearing the way for powered flight tests in the near future. Last week, Virgin Galactic announced that it had hired former Disney executive Michael Colglazier as its new CEO, replacing Whitesides who now works as the company’s Chief Space Officer.