Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft has six passenger seats and lots of windows

Virgin Galactic has released the first images of what the interior of its VSS Unity spacecraft will look like. The design shows a seating capacity for up to six passengers who will fly on board the rocket-powered space plane, crest at an altitude above 80km, and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.

The images reveal a sleek cabin designed to give the company’s “astronauts” a stunning view of the planet as they rise above most of Earth’s atmosphere. Each passenger has two dedicated windows and two cameras recording their experiences throughout the flight. During the zero-gravity phase of the flight, the seats will bend nearly horizontal to maximize room inside the cabin. The seats are modular, so the cabin can also be configured with three seats on one side of the vehicle and research racks on the other.

“This is something that we have been working on for years, and it signifies the final run to commercial service,” said George Whitesides, chief space officer of Virgin Galactic. “It signifies that we are in the stage where we’re putting the finishing touches on our entire customer experience, and so it’s a huge day for the team. It’s a huge 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 company’s new chief executive, Michael Colglazier, said the company is preparing VSS Unity for a powered flight from its spaceport in New Mexico. This flight will take the spacecraft above 80km and, he said, “allow us to finish up some important testing.” It is not clear when commercial flights will begin.

Stages of flight during a nominal mission.
Enlarge / Stages of flight during a nominal mission.
Virgin Galactic

Although the spacecraft’s interior is aesthetically pleasing, the company’s primary focus is on safety, Colglazier said. “It’s built into the engineering, the operations, the processes, and the culture here at Virgin Galactic,” he said.

The product of a development program that spans nearly two decades, VSS Unity has flown about a dozen glide flights and used its powered mode to reach “space” twice, flying to 82.7km in December 2018 and to 89.9km in February 2019. Since then, Virgin Galactic has focused on moving into its operational phase, setting up its New Mexico facilities, and finalizing the design of the crew cabin to complement its customers’ experiences.

It is notable that the images and stylish video released by the company on Tuesday show mostly renderings rather than actual photos inside VSS Unity or video from inside the space plane. This raises some questions about how final the modifications are to the cabin and when it might actually be ready for paying customers.

Listing image by Virgin Galactic


Dan Locklair: Windows Of Comfort - Organbook II: Organ: Instrumental Album Dan Locklair: Windows Of Comfort - Organbook II: Organ: Instrumental Album
Louis Comfort Tiffany created ten windows for the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka Kansas and they were installed in 1911. Viewed up close the windows appear to be a kaleidoscopic array of colorful precious stones. These windows have been used as extra-musical stimuli in composing the organbooks Windows of Comfort. Louis Comfort Tiffany created ten windows for the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka Kansas and they were installed in 1911. Viewed up close the windows appear to be a kaleidoscopic array of colorful precious stones. These windows have been used as extra-musical stimuli in composing the organbooks Windows of Comfort.
£8.50
by: E.C. Kerby

James Matheson: Windows: Piano James Matheson: Windows: Piano
Windows
£19.50
by: Theodore Presser Company

Dan Locklair: Windows Of Comfort - Organbook I: Organ: Instrumental Album Dan Locklair: Windows Of Comfort - Organbook I: Organ: Instrumental Album
Louis Comfort Tiffany created ten windows for the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka Kansas and they were installed in 1911. Viewed up close the windows appear to be a kaleidoscopic array of colorful precious stones. These windows have been used as extra-musical stimuli in composing the organbooks Windows of Comfort. This book contains: Trinity's Shield • “As the heart panteth...” • “...the heavens were opened...” • “...beside the still waters.” • Alpha and Omega. Total duration ca. 17 minutes.Louis Comfort Tiffany created ten windows for the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka Kansas and they were installed in 1911. Viewed up close the windows appear to be a kaleidoscopic array of colorful precious stones. These windows have been used as extra-musical stimuli in composing the organbooks Windows of Comfort. This book contains: Trinity's Shield • “As the heart panteth...” • “...the heavens were opened...” • “...beside the still waters.” • Alpha and Omega. Total duration ca. 17 minutes.
£9.50
by: E.C. Kerby

Chick Corea: Windows: Jazz Ensemble: Score Chick Corea: Windows: Jazz Ensemble: Score
Windows
£6.99
by: Hal Leonard