Richard Branson’s space-plane design unveiled, ‘astronaut experience’ to cost $250,000
Monday, 10 August 2020
Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson’s ‘space tourist company’ has unveiled the final design of the space-plane’s (VSS Unity) interior.
600 private citizens have already paid a deposit to reserve a seat, which ticket price currently stand at $250,000.
Before starting with the commercial space flights, a number of test flights still have to be carried out, including one with Branson himself. However, due to technical difficulties and the corona crisis, the planned schedule has been delayed.
The cabin of the spaceplane VSS Unity has been designed with the aim to give the space tourists the optimum view.
There are six seats in total – all ‘window seats’ – with one window next to the passenger and one on the ceiling above. In total, there are 17 windows, with the three in front of the two pilots included.
The seats seem to hover as they cantilever from the sidewalls, leaving lots of space underneath. reinforcing the experience of the zero-gravity the occupants are to experience once in orbit.
The spaceplane is brought into thinner atmosphere (10,6 km) by a specially designed carrier plane where it is released, and the rocket engine in the back of the spacecraft starts.
In six seconds, the VSS Unity passes through the sound barrier as passengers are taken to a height of roughly 97 km above Earth’s surface.
“Outside, the sky changes from blue to purple and finally to black,” as passengers leave the Earth’s atmosphere Virgin Galactic says of the experience, adding “as the rocket engine shuts down, your cabin is transformed from a 3,5G rocket ship into a unique, spacious zone for the exploration of weightlessness, and a silent viewing platform for the greatest show, off-Earth.”
During the six minutes of zero-gravity, the passengers can enjoy weightlessness after unstrapping their belts, In addition, cameras are incorporated to make selfies automatically.
In total, the space trip takes 90 minutes. The experience also includes a four-day stay at Spaceport America where passengers will be prepared for the “astronaut experience.”