Taking a Glimpse into Virgin Galactic - the Future of Space Flight

Taking a glimpse into Virgin Galactic - the future of space flight

The time has come to usher in the next frontier of travel, one that is set to take humanity towards infinity and beyond. In revealing the interior cabins of SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic is taking the next small step towards the giant leap for mankind that will be commercialised space travel. 

© Virgin Galactic 2019

Designed to take a total of six passengers on a sub-orbital flight into space to view the Earth and experience several minutes of weightlessness, prices sit at around $250,000 per seat. But, before stepping into the cabin itself, you will be required to put on a Virgin Galactic Spacewear System made for private astronauts. And when it comes to designing for such a niche and specific experiential needs, clothing becomes intricately woven into the experience itself. 

Partnering with Under Armour, the Virgin Galactic suits are designed with safety, comfort and fit in mind. Monie Gaba, Senior Lead of Footwear Innovation for Under Armour, shared that during the design process, the team “Looked at the melting point between a top-tier athlete and a future astronaut, where they need to be, and how best [to] suit their needs.”

© Virgin Galactic 2019

Designed to take a total of six passengers on a sub-orbital flight into space to view the Earth and experience several minutes of weightlessness, prices sit at around $250,000 per seat. But, before stepping into the cabin itself, you will be required to put on a Virgin Galactic Spacewear System made for private astronauts. And when it comes to designing for such a niche and specific experiential needs, clothing becomes intricately woven into the experience itself. 

Partnering with Under Armour, the Virgin Galactic suits are designed with safety, comfort and fit in mind. Monie Gaba, Senior Lead of Footwear Innovation for Under Armour, shared that during the design process, the team “Looked at the melting point between a top-tier athlete and a future astronaut, where they need to be, and how best [to] suit their needs.”

“The space experience, we know, is potentially a transformative one,” Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic notes. “Astronauts that have come back from space in the last 40 or 50 years don’t talk about their space experience for a few months, or even a few years. They talk about it for the rest of their life! [Therefore,] putting on [the flight suit] for the first time, needs to be a very visible sense of the start of transformation. They’re going to look like they’ve never looked before, they’re going to feel like they have never felt before.” 

© Virgin Galactic 2019

a flight suit which will be worn more than any other space flight suit in history

And with 600 customers that have already signed up, it is set to be a flight suit which will be worn more than any other space flight suit in history. The kit itself comprises mainly of four items - a base layer, space boots, a training kit, and the space suit itself. The technical knit-material manufactured by Under Armour is extremely light-weight and requires no stitching to ensure the perfect fit into the astronaut’s seat.  

Donned in this space kit, the space travellers will be strapped into their seats in the specifically designed cabin - one which is iconically groundbreaking, and the first of its kind.


Tom Westray, Creative Director of Virgin Galactic states that “We believe, at Virgin Galactic, that our future astronauts' mission is to go off into space, to look back on Earth with their own eyes, and have that transformative experience that we know people who go off into space have…” And, “In many ways the cabin is the design centerpiece of this transformational journey. It’s this cabin that will enable hundreds, and then thousands of people to embark on one of the most unforgettable journeys of their lives - that is spaceflight,” Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic shares.

© Virgin Galactic 2019

In the words of Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, “It is a cabin that has been designed specifically to allow thousands of people to achieve their dreams of spaceflight safely and to maximise every aspect of that fabulous journey... Design determines how you make people feel and how they interact with your product. The cabin is special because, while it has been created to integrate seamlessly with every other aspect of our astronaut journey, it is also the design centerpiece.” It’s almost as if the Virgin Galactic spaceship is the first one to be built from the inside out. 

In it’s testing, Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Trainer, became the first person to fly in the customer cabin of SpaceShipTwo as an engineer and an instructor testing the cabin. She notes that, “Very fundamentally it looked at how the cabin moves about you when you are floating and weightless. 

© Virgin Galactic 2019

“[We looked specifically at] what aspects of the experience stand out - perhaps in ways that were not anticipated before a human could go calibrate that.” The results of this experience were rolled into the cabin design to ensure that it is “perfectly tuned, elegant, easy, safe, wonderful. It was already freaking remarkable, and now it’s even more so for all of our future customers. So the moment where we strapped in, and the hatch was closed, and the wheels started to roll, sticks with me as a moment of personal gravitas.”

© Virgin Galactic 2019

She recalls that as the rocket motor cut off, “You can see the Earth outside of all the windows. It is super super bright, it is very high definition. It just engulfed me. Space is deep deep deep black and it looks endless. And probably the next stand-out moment [was when] I joined the pilots in the cockpit… That’s probably the stand-out moment of my life, floating free, in the ship - and the ship came to a stop above Earth. And it felt endless. The cabin interior supports savouring the view of Earth from space in every way possible.


It both facilitates your movement around the cabin, you can get to any window, or next to any person that you’d like to - while simultaneously not distracting you from the view you’re looking at.” Designed in collaboration with Seymourpowell, London, the interior of the Virgin Galactic cabin design and spaceflight experience can be explored through an augmented reality enabled mobile app, which is available to download for free from both the App Store and Play Store.

the view of Earth from space is the star of the show

 It’s as if the team knew that “The cabin interior would be successful when the spaceflight, and the view of Earth from space is the star of the show, and the cabin is almost an invisible, perfect supporting act.”

© Virgin Galactic 2019

Lined with an extremely lightweight and soft-engineered foam in a honeycomb structure, the cabin design improves thermal and acoustic qualities while ensuring a soft touch as you explore the cabin during weightlessness. The view is the ultimate focus of your time in Zero G, and so to guide you towards experiencing this incredible moment, there are 17 windows - each bordered by a soft circular halo which helps focus and frame your view. These edges are designed to aid you in moving around the cabin to perfectly position yourself to view Earth below. In Zero G, the cabin effectively becomes a 360-degree climbing frame.

The interior of the spaceship was designed with one thing in mind - the view of the Earth from space. 

In working alongside several astronauts, their experiences in space informed some critical features of the cabin design. They relayed that space is a deep black, and that Earth is extremely bright - giving the most beautiful and natural light source. To perfectly record every aspect of the experience, 16 cameras have been built into the design, negating the need for any cameras to be taken onboard to capture an experience of a lifetime.

© Virgin Galactic 2019

The spaceship’s crew seats use the highest grade aluminium and carbon fibre manufacturing techniques and are cantilevered from the cabin side walls. When you are released from your seat during the flight, it reclines so as to maximise the space for your experience of weightlessness. It remains reclined during re-entry so that G-force can be directed and optimised, without detracting from the thrill of the ride. Each astronaut is provided with their own digitalised display, which feeds live flight data, including speed, G, the flight time remaining - so that there can be as many memorable magic touches to the experience. 

© Virgin Galactic 2019

The back of the cabin includes a large, circular mirror, to enable you to see yourself enjoying the freedom of weightlessness in real-time, illuminated by the natural brightness of the Earth. This balances functional and emotional needs within a high-adrenaline environment - and every touch point has been designed with an intuitive useability.

With the ability to fly both humans and science research payloads to space, the cabin design itself is flexible. Seats can be replaced with payload racks for specific flights. This ingenuity means that researchers can be flown with their experiments, creating a unique “space-science lab” for affordable and repeatable human-tended science research. Such routes seek to open paths for collaboration.


In the creation of the world’s first commercialised space line, a collective commitment towards reinvention is necessary. Humanity has the opportunity to define an important part of our future, and in doing so, create something truly compelling. “From space, we’re able to look with a new perspective, both outward and back. From space, the borders that are fought over on Earth are arbitrary lines. And from space, it is clear that there is much more that unites us than divides us. The exploration of space is the ultimate expression of the human desire to push boundaries and stands at the pinnacle of our species’ achievements. Together, we can make space accessible in a way that has only been dreamt of before now, and by doing so can bring positive change to life on Earth," said Branson.



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