Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

Virgin Galactic has released the first images of what the interior of its VSS Unit spacecraft will look like. The design shows a capacity for up to six passengers who will fly aboard the rocket-powered spaceplane, climb at an altitude of more than 80 km and experience weightlessness for a few minutes.

The images reveal a sleek cabin designed to give the company’s “astronauts” stunning views of the planet as they soar above most of Earth’s atmosphere. Each passenger has two special windows and two cameras that record their in-flight experiences. During the zero-gravity phase of flight, the seats will bend nearly horizontally to maximize cabin space. The seats are modular, so the cabin can also be configured with three seats on one side of the vehicle and examination racks on the other.

“This is something we’ve been working on for years and it represents the final step to commercial service,” said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic’s chief space officer. “It means we’re at the stage where we’re putting the finishing touches on our entire customer experience, so it’s a great day for the team. It’s a great day for the people who work so hard to design and build and to fly. the interior, and it’s a big day for the entire company.”

The company’s new CEO, Michael Colglazier, said the company’s VSS . prepares Unit for a powered flight from his spaceport in New Mexico. This flight will take the spacecraft above 80 km and, he said, “let’s finish some important tests.” It is not clear when commercial flights will start.

Stages of flight during a nominal mission.
enlarge Stages of flight during a nominal mission.

Virgo Galactic

While the spacecraft’s interior is aesthetically pleasing, the company’s primary focus is on safety, Colglazier said. “It’s built into the engineering, the operations, the processes and the culture here at Virgin Galactic,” he said.

The product of a development program spanning nearly two decades, VSS Unit has flown about a dozen glides and used its powered mode to reach “space” twice, with a flight of 82.7 km in December 2018 and up to 89.9 km in February 2019. Since then, Virgin Galactic has focused on the transition to the operational phase, setting up its facilities in New Mexico, and completing the crew cabin design to complement its customers’ experiences.

It is noteworthy that the images and stylish videos released by the company on Tuesday mainly show renderings rather than real photos in VSS Unity or video from the space plane. This raises some questions about how final the changes to the cab are and when it might actually be ready for paying customers.

List image by Virgin Galactic

By akfire1

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