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Virgin Galactic and Land Rover Team Up for Space Travel (Video)

Land Rover’s Discovery Vision Concept Car and SpaceShipTwo
Global reveal of Land Rover’s new Discovery Vision Concept car alongside Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceship. (Image credit: Land Rover/Virgin Galactic)

NEW YORK — Automaker Land Rover is teaming up with commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic to help transport future commercial astronauts on Earth before their flights to space.

Land Rover will keep a group of vehicles at Virgin Galactic's test center in California and at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic and Land Rover also teamed up to produce a video announcing the new partnership.

A full-scale model of Virgin Galactic's suborbital space plane, SpaceShipTwo, stands next to warplanes on the deck of an aircraft carrier turned museum in a display honoring the new partnership. The SpaceShipTwo model will only stay on board the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum here in New York City until the end of today (April 23). However, the partnership between the two companies is built to last. [See photos from SpaceShipTwo's test flights]

Global reveal of Land Rover’s new Discovery Vision Concept car alongside Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceship. (Image credit: Land Rover/Virgin Galactic)

Land Rover’s new Discovery Vision Concept car alongside Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceship, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Image released April 14, 2014. (Image credit: Land Rover/Virgin Galactic)

"We built it [the SpaceShipTwo model] and had shown it off in the U.K. a little bit, and I think it has been to one or two other places," Will Pomerantz, the vice president of special projects with Virgin Galactic, told Space.com. "We'll eventually do a little bit of a road show."

The model was unveiled next to Land Rover's Discovery Vision Concept vehicle on the deck of the Intrepid during an event last week. The new concept SUV uses gesture control to open doors, turn on headlights and operate indicators, according to Land Rover. The car also uses specialized technology to make the front of the car appear "invisible" from the inside, Land Rover representatives said.

The more than 700 people who have paid for tickets aboard a SpaceShipTwo flight should get the chance to ride in a Land Rover as well.

"The partnership will see Land Rover vehicles become part of daily life for the Virgin Galactic team," Virgin Galactic representatives wrote in a statement. "And for all 'Future Astronauts,' the space experience will now begin with Land Rover as they arrive in New Mexico for training, and continue to the moment they drive from the space terminal building to the waiting spaceship."

SpaceShipTwo is expected to fly its first commercial flight sometime later this year. At the moment, the space plane is in its final stages of testing. Virgin Galactic's billionaire founder, Sir Richard Branson, will be one of the first passengers to fly aboard SpaceShipTwo.

A ride on SpaceShipTwo currently costs $250,000. Passengers that fly aboard the space plane  will experience a few minutes of weightlessness and view Earth from the blackness of space.

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Miriam Kramer
Miriam Kramer joined Space.com as a staff writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also serves as Space.com's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. You can follow Miriam on Twitter and Google+.