Earlier this month, the California-based fixed-wing airline, Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) promised to provide more details for the interior of the SpaceShipTwo cabin. Unlike traditional arena companies, Virgin plans to provide individuals and researchers with access to low-gravity environments that are nearly weightless through the vehicle.
The company kept its word and today gave a glimpse into the design of the spaceship cabin and some of the features that its future customers will be able to enjoy. As was the case after the event’s announcement on 2 of this month, when Virgin Galactic’s shares stumbled on the open market, the booth similarly revealed witnessed pessimism from the market.
Virgin Galactic Shares shed value before being revealed and could not be regained thereafter
During today’s video briefing, the company did not provide details of the operational timeline for the SpaceShipTwo, as the purpose of the reveal was to show what passengers on board the vessel will experience during their flight. According to Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, the ride from Earth’s surface to high altitudes is relatively smooth, with the sound of the spaceship’s engines not being uncomfortable during takeoff.
The interior supports the passenger to view the Earth completely from the edge of the room and offers multiple viewpoints through seventeen windows. These are specifically designed to give passengers a comfortable position on their space excursion, Virgin Galactic revealed today, as it provided renderings and images of the SpaceShipTwo’s cabin.
The cabin seats are manufactured using high-quality aluminum and carbon fiber techniques and are designed according to the specific requirements of each astronaut. They are self-supporting on the side of the cabin. They are also programmed to automatically adjust and recline as soon as a passenger leaves them to look in the area, with the seats doing this by reclining to give the passenger maximum room for exploration in the cabin.
They also remain inclined during return to optimally distribute gravity to provide the passenger with a comfortable experience. Escaping and returning to Earth’s gravity are the most demanding experiences in space flight due to the massive shift in forces needed for ascent and for getting used to the planet’s gravity again.
The SpaceShipTwo’s cabin is lined with soft foam with a honeycomb structure that allows the vehicle to isolate the rocket engine and other noises outside the vehicle – contributing to the quiet climb described by the astronaut instructor above.
To give passengers a view of the Earth and space once they have reached the height, the SpaceShipTwo has seventeen windows. These are surrounded by soft ‘halos’ that allow passengers to grip them from different angles to allow better positioning in a low gravity environment. Virgin also revealed that the cabin is equipped with sixteen cameras that capture a passenger’s entire experience.
The final cabin design will include blues and blues to reflect the environment outside the vehicle, and passengers will also be able to keep abreast of various flight parameters through screens installed at the rear of each seat. SpaceShipTwo is also adaptable for fact-finding missions, where the vehicle seats are removable to replace them with investigator luggage racks.
Today’s unveiling of the cabin provides important insights into Virgin Galactic’s design process, but it remains to be seen what the final, flight-ready versions of the interior will look like. Successful executive missions will require the company to review its manufacturing and maintenance capabilities, and as soon as a final date for the first commercial SpaceShipTwo flight emerges, investor optimism in Virgin Galactic should emerge.