Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Virgin Galactic reveals cabin interior of its first SpaceShipTwo vehicle

Virgin Galactic continues to prepare to send space tourists into Earth orbit. And now, the space travel company has shown how the cabin interior of its first SpaceShipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity, will look like. In a virtual event streamed live on YouTube, the company demonstrated cockpit footage taken during test flights between space and the atmosphere.

The cabin will have six passenger seats and was designed to maximize the vision of the Earth, with 12 cabin windows, 16 cameras, and a large mirror at the rear. The seats are made of the highest-grade aluminum and carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques. 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 is near a large porthole, each of which has a camera connected so that the passenger can be photographed with the Earth in the background. Other windows running through the roof of the cabin offers a spectacular view of the planet.

It has six seats, 16 cameras, and 12 cabin windows.
It has six seats, 16 cameras, and 12 cabin windows. Credit: Virgin Galactic

The seats are far apart, with a long center passage between them. The rear wall of the cabin is represented by a large mirror, which will provide passengers with the opportunity to see themselves in microgravity. There are slots in the headrests of the seats so that passengers with long hair can gather them in a ponytail and place them comfortably.

Special attention was paid to the seat belts. They consist of five ribbons and a round buckle located on the passenger’s chest. You can open the seat belt with a simple twist, after which a special mechanism will remove the belts so that they do not interfere in microgravity conditions.

The cockpit is capable of receiving signals from a Virgin Atlantic aircraft. There is a lighting system around the windows, which signals the different stages of the flight. A white light indicates the initial climb; the orange light indicates rocket engine ignition. In space, the lights turn black. In addition, there are screens in the back of the seats that display each phase of the flight for passengers.

The output from 16 cabin cameras, plus those in the cockpit and mounted externally, will generate high definition output to provide everything from the first Instagram posts, to a beautifully edited and historically significant personal movie.

The firm founded by British billionaire Richard Branson has repeatedly postponed the date of its first commercial flight, although its managers recently said it is only a matter of a few months. It also notes that some more test flights are needed before that, including with several company employees as passengers.