Virgin Galactic has released the first images of what the interior of its VSS Unit the spacecraft will be seen. The design shows seating capacity for up to six passengers who will fly aboard the rocket-powered space plane, climb to an altitude greater than 80 km and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
The images reveal a sleek cockpit designed to give the company’s “astronauts” an impressive view of the planet as they soar above most of Earth’s atmosphere. Each passenger has two dedicated windows and two cameras that record their experiences throughout the flight. During the zero gravity phase of flight, the seats will fold almost horizontally to maximize space within the cabin. The seats are modular, so the cabin can also be configured with three seats on one side of the vehicle and research racks on the other.
“This is something we’ve been working on for years, and it means the final career in commercial service,” said George Whitesides, space director for Virgin Galactic. “It means that we are at the stage where we are putting the finishing touches on our entire customer experience, making it a great day for the team. It is a great day for people who work so hard to design, build and fly. inside, and it’s a great day for the entire company. “
The company’s new CEO, Michael Colglazier, said the company is preparing VSS. Unit for a powered flight from its spaceport in New Mexico. This flight will take the spacecraft more than 80 km and, he said, “it will allow us to complete some important tests.” It is unclear when commercial flights will begin.
Although the interior of the spacecraft is aesthetically pleasing, the company’s primary focus is security, Colglazier said. “It is embedded in engineering, operations, processes and culture here at Virgin Galactic,” he said.
The product of a development program spanning nearly two decades, VSS Unit it has flown around a dozen glide flights and used its propulsion mode to reach “space” twice, flying 82.7 km in December 2018 and 89.9 km in February 2019. Since then, Virgin Galactic has focused moving on to its operational phase, establishing its New Mexico facilities, and finalizing the design of the crew cabin to complement the experiences of its clients.
Notably, the images and sleek video released by the company on Tuesday show mostly renderings rather than actual photos within VSS. Unitoo video from inside the spatial plane. This raises some questions about how final the cabin modifications are and when it might actually be ready to pay customers.
Virgin Galactic listing image