We now know what Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spaceliner looks like, inside and out: SpaceShipTwo passengers will ride in style. The company, part of billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, revealed the cabin interior of the six-passenger SpaceShipTwo, which is designed to carry people and payloads to suborbital space and back. “When we created Virgin Galactic, we started with what we believed would be an optimal customer experience and then built the spaceship around it,” Branson said in a statement today. “We will continue with that ethos as we expand our fleet, build our operations and underpin Virgin Galactic’s position as the spaceline for Earth,” he said. “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.”
The six seats can recline, a feature that SpaceShipTwo’s two pilots will manage to minimize g-forces on passengers during the boost and re-entry phases of each suborbital flight. Every seat boasts a screen that will display flight data, and passengers will have personal communications systems that give them access to the pilots, Virgin Galactic representatives said. SpaceShipTwo is hauled aloft by a big plane called WhiteKnightTwo, which drops the spacecraft at an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 meters). SpaceShipTwo’s onboard rocket motor then kicks on, blasting the vehicle up to suborbital space. Passengers will get to see the curvature of Earth against the blackness of space and experience a few minutes of weightlessness before they come back home for a runway landing. The cabin is designed to accentuate this dramatic and (for most people) once-in-a-lifetime experience, company personnel said.