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SUBORBITAL

Spaceship cabin reveal reveals comfort centered experience

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Virgin Galactic has revealed the cabin design of the spaceship, VSS Unity, slated to take individuals to the edge of space where they can see the earth from space as they float through the non-gravity experience. The company has already booked more than 600 paying customers for the space experience locked in to launch from southern New Mexico’s Spaceport America.

During a virtual press conference July 28 Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson said the cabin is special because “while it has been created to integrate seamlessly with every other it is also the design centerpiece.”

“It is a cabin designed specifically to allow thousands of people to achieve their dreams of space flight safely and to maximize every aspect of that fabulous journey,” he said. “We started Virgin 50 years ago with a clear purpose – to transform customer experience and to make business a force for good. [In this cabin] we started with what we believed would be an optimal customer experience and then we built the spaceship around it and we will continue with that ethos as we expand our fleet.”

While Virgin Galactic’s “future astronauts” are not allowed cameras on the flight, having photos and videos of their spaceflight experience to share, is of paramount importance. The output from 16 cabin cameras, plus those in the cockpit and mounted externally, will generate high definition images and video to provide everything from the first Instagram posts, to a beautifully edited and historically significant personal movie.

“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,’’ Branson said.

Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses also spoke during the live-stream reveal event, she was onsite at Spaceport America as she talked about her experience as an astronaut on VSS Unity as it completed its 26-minute mission on Feb. 22, 2019.

Moses said she was there to ensure the core aspects of the customer journey. She was covered in censors, making ratings checking to ensure everything was going right and see what else was needed.

“But more importantly, I was testing the procedures and the cabin so we could learn how to train the customers,” she said. “I got out of the seat two ways, moved about the cabin, tested out the halo window frames and was able wave at myself in mirror at back in order to understand that experience.”

Before she worked with Virgin Galactic, Moses was an extreme environment test expert with NASA.

“I went to a point in the cabin to most dramatically try to enjoy apogee and the view of earth from the stillness of space.”

To learn more, visit virgingalactic.com and to explore the spaceship inside and out, there is a phone ap that provides a virtual reality experience. Search for Virgin Galactic in your ap store.

Elva K. Österreich may be reached at elva@lascrucesbulletin.com.