SpaceShipTwo’s mostly white interior will be empty except for a small two-pilot cockpit, up to six passenger seats, an array of windows, and a tinted mirror meant to allow passengers to view themselves as they float out of their seats in microgravity. A network of 16 high-definition cameras — tucked into the cabin walls, in the cockpit and on the exterior of the vehicle — will record the ride, aiming to capture “everything from the first Instagram posts, to a beautifully edited and historically significant personal movie,” according to a press release.
“That’s what our customers want,” George Whitesides, the company’s chief space officer, told CNN Business’ Rachel Crane. “To capture that whole experience [using installed cameras] was really a challenging but, I think, [an] effectively done design problem.”
The company, known for putting on lavish events for customers, also sent Oculus headsets to a group of reporters and some customers to provide virtual walk-throughs of the SpaceShipTwo cabin, a spokesperson said in an email. (Reporters who received the headsets will return them to Virgin Galactic.)
“I think we’re doing as good a job as we can in this challenging time for all of us,” Whitesides said of the pandemic.
Whitesides said an “incredible amount of work” went into designing SpaceShipTwo’s interior, with consideration for every detail from the “mood lighting” to the fabric on the seat backs.
The custom seats will have patches of a woven material with “celestial” blues and and teals that pay homage to the Earth’s ocean, according to Virgin Galactic. Some hardware will also be a golden metallic to resemble the New Mexico desert, which is home to the spaceport where Virgin Galactic’s customers will gather before takeoff.
Each of the 12 windows in the passenger area of the plane will also be circled with a halo of light that will glow bright red during the minute-long engine burn. At the peak of its flight, while SpaceShipTwo is weightless, the lights will cut out and the cabin will be illuminated only by sunshine reflected off the Earth. The windows will offer an expansive view of the Earth’s curved horizon and a glimpse into the blackness of the cosmos, the company says.