Out-of-this-world designs have been revealed for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceshipTwo cabin interiors.
Though space tourism is still a little ways off — the COVID-19 pandemic has set back flight timelines and no new dates for lift-off are confirmed — the peek inside the spaceship cabin allows us dreamers to feel a little closer to the project, and to picture the day we may one day get to experience the wonders of space (got a spare US $250,000?).
As reported by Lonely Planet, 2020 was the year that 16 flights were set to take place, each running for 90-minutes and taking passengers/astronauts outside the Earth’s atmosphere. In lieu of these flights, Virgin Galactic has released concept designs for the cabin interiors of its first SpaceshipTwo vehicle, the VSS Unity.
The spacecraft is designed to accommodate six passengers and a two-member crew. Particular attention has been awarded to the design of the seats, which are adjustable to each passenger’s weight and height.
The seats recline beyond your typical plane standards to allow for G-force management and are composed of comfortable engineered foam and 3D knit technical fabrics, which were developed in partnership with Under Armour.
The reclined nature of the seats also allows for more internal cabin space, which comes in handy when passengers enter zero-gravity and are able to float freely around the cabin.
“SpaceShipTwo’s cabin was deliberately sized to allow for an out-of-seat weightlessness experience for the astronauts on board,” a press release from Virgin Galactic reads.
“The interior design focusses on this critical part of the experience. Soft cabin surfaces and elements become intuitive hand and footholds, allowing astronauts to explore the cabin freely and fully.”
The colour palette of the cabin is fairly neutral and minimal with steely space greys, blues inspired by “celestial spaces” and ocean-hued teals. It’s a purposeful design element though out to highlight the views beyond the cabin’s 12 large windows.
Another notable aspect is the mood lighting, which is actually synced to each flight phase. Multi-colour LEDs are concealed within the ‘halo’ window frames, and are used to “subtly reflect back and therefore elevate, the human responses to each of the contrasting stages of flight”.
While passengers will not be able to whip out their smartphones, the cabin is equipped with 16 high-quality cameras that will snap photos and videos of astronauts along the journey.
When the spacecraft finally reaches its destination outside the Earth’s atmosphere, all lights inside the craft will be switched off, allowing passengers a moment to appreciate the beauty of the planet so far behind them.
“While it has been created to integrate seamlessly with every other aspect of the Virgin Galactic astronaut journey — the cabin is also the design centrepiece; providing safety without distraction, quietly absorbing periods of sensory intensity and offering each astronaut a level of intimacy required for personal discovery and transformation,” Virgin Galactic says.