Virgin Galactic Holdings, a vertically-integrated aerospace and space travel company, revealed the cabin interior of its SpaceshipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity, in a virtual event streamed live on YouTube. Aspiring astronauts and space enthusiasts around the world, now have the opportunity to explore the Virgin Galactic cabin design and spaceflight experience through an augmented reality enabled mobile app available to download for free at both the App Store and Play Store.
Virgin Galactic, in collaboration with London design agency, Seymourpowell, have developed an elegant but progressive, experience-focused concept for the cabin of its spaceship. While it has been created to integrate seamlessly with every other aspect of the Virgin Galactic astronaut journey – the cabin is also the design centerpiece: providing safety without distraction, quietly absorbing periods of sensory intensity, and offering each astronaut a level of intimacy.
Individually sized seats, created using high-grade aluminium and carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques, provide astronaut comfort to optimize performance, and is accentuated by the use of engineered foam and technical fabrics. Virgin Galactic’s partner Under Armour developed the astronaut spacesuits and also the fabric technology featured in the cabin seats. Under Armour created a 3D knit featuring constructions that map breathability and function into the fabric.
The color palette of the cabin has been carefully curated so that it complements the architecture of the seat, the cabin itself and spacesuits. Each seat has been engineered to match the dynamism of the flight. A pilot-controlled recline mechanism, optimally positions astronauts to manage G- forces on boost and re-entry and frees up cabin space to maximize an unrestricted astronaut float zone when in zero gravity.
Multi-color LEDs are concealed within the “Halo” window surrounds and are used to subtly reflect back the human responses to each of the contrasting stages of flight. At the pinnacle of the experience, as the Earth comes into view against the black sky of space, all lighting will be extinguished. Seat-back screens provide digital flight data to connect each astronaut to the flight deck, and personal integrated communication systems connect each astronaut and the two space pilots.
SpaceShipTwo’s cabin was deliberately sized to allow for an out-of-seat weightlessness experience for the astronauts on board. Soft cabin surfaces and elements become intuitive hand and footholds, allowing astronauts to explore the cabin freely and fully. The “Halo” surrounds to twelve large windows have soft extended edges, which allow astronauts to position themselves for 360-degree views.
The output from 16 high-definition cabin cameras, plus those in the cockpit and mounted externally, will provide everything from the first Instagram posts, to an edited personal movie. The cabin includes a large, circular mirror on the aft bulkhead which, by adding a tint to the reflective surface, allows astronauts to view themselves weightless while illuminated by the natural brightness of the Earth.
Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic said: “The spaceship cabin interior is in many ways the design centerpiece of the astronaut journey and what has been created will both facilitate and elevate a uniquely profound and transformational journey for the thousands who will fly. The fascination with spaceflight is universal and Virgin Galactic is here to satisfy it. We are particularly proud to be able to share this latest milestone with millions around the world, particularly during these unusual times. We hope the new app, with cutting-edge AR technology will help bring the dream of space one step closer for space enthusiasts everywhere.”
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group 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.’’
For more information visit www.virgingalactic.com/smallstep/