Virgin Galactic has released the first images of what the interior of her VSS Unity the spacecraft will look like. The design shows a capacity of up to six passengers who will fly on board a spacecraft running a rocket, a crest at an altitude of over 80 km and feels a few minutes of weightlessness.
The images show a sleek interior designed to give “astronauts” a stunning view of the planet as they rise above most of the Earth’s atmosphere. Each passenger has two specialized windows and two cameras that record their impressions throughout the flight. During the zero-gravity phase, the seats will bend almost horizontally to provide maximum space inside the cockpit. The seats are modular, so the cab can also be adjusted with three seats on one side of the car and research racks on the other.
“This is what we’ve been working on for years, and it means the final launch of the commercial service,” said George Whitesides, Virgin Virgin’s chief space officer. “It means we’re at the stage where we’re putting the finishing touches into all our customer experiences, and that’s why 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 fly the interior, and it’s a huge day for the whole company. “
The new head of the company, Michael Collazier, said that the company is preparing a VSS Unity on a powerful flight from its space port to New Mexico. This flight will take the spacecraft more than 80 km, and, he said, “let me finish a few important tests.” It is unclear when commercial flights will begin.
Although the interior of the spacecraft is aesthetically pleasing, the company’s focus is on safety, Colglazier said. “It’s built into the engineering, operations, processes and culture here at Virgin Galactic,” he said.
The product of a nearly two-decade development program is VSS Unity made about a dozen flights on a speedboat and used its power mode to reach “space” twice, flying up to 82.7 km in December 2018 and up to 89.9 km in February 2019. Since then, Virgin Galactic has focused on moving to its work phase, tuning its equipment in New Mexico and refining the design of the crew cabin to complement the customer experience.
Notably, the image and stylish video released by the company on Tuesday show mostly rendering rather than actual photos inside the VSS Unity or video from inside the space plane. This raises some questions about how final the interior modifications are and when it may actually be ready to pay customers.
Virgin Galactic image listing