If you're a future space tourist with Virgin Galactic, there's a nice bonus in store for you. Land Rover launched a special vehicle available only to people who have signed up with Virgin for a possible spaceflight.
The Astronaut Edition vehicle — painted in a "zero gravity blue" sheen — includes a silhouette of the Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicle scheduled to bring tourists into space. Vehicles also include a piece of the front landing skid that flew on SpaceShipTwo Unity in December 2018, when it flew past the U.S. Air Force's defined boundary for space for the first time. (SpaceShipTwo is still in testing, and Virgin hasn't yet released a date for its space tourism flights.)
The skid is repurposed in each vehicle as a double cup holder, according to an announcement by Land Rover. One holder includes a quote from Virgin Galactic Richard Branson — "See you up there" — while the second holder has details about the owner's upcoming spaceflight. The second cup holder will be updated with "the specific details of a life changing experience" once the owner reaches space, according to the Land Rover statement.
There are other nods to Virgin Galactic and its astronaut community throughout the design. The community's constellation pattern is engraved in the door handles, the rear of the front headrests and in a panel above the glove box. The vehicle's owner may stitch their initials into the headrests. And when the doors open, puddle lamps shine the silhouette SpaceShipTwo on the ground beside the Land Rover.
Branson praised the partnership in a blog post, calling the vehicle "the ultimate souvenir from space" in the post's title.
"Land Rover has supported many of our businesses over the years: They have provided vehicles for the start of Virgin Atlantic's world-first upper class limo service and have effortlessly tackled the wild South African terrain, transporting hundreds of our guests around the beautiful Ulusaba Game Reserve," he said.
"They have also played a big part in our family's life, ferrying my kids and now my grandkids around safely," he added. "I also remember arriving by Land Rover to surprise our grandchildren last Christmas Eve, and to show them the incredible footage of Virgin Galactic's first spaceflight."
Land Rover did not release the price for this vehicle class, which is a plug-in electric hybrid to honor "both brands' commitment to a sustainable future," Land Rover representatives said.
- Virgin Galactic, Land Rover Team Up for Spaceflight
- Amazing Virgin Galactic Launch Video Shows Black Sky, Blue Earth
- Virgin Galactic Moving Test Flights to New Mexico to Prep for Commercial Operations