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Land Rover Unveils Astronaut Edition Vehicle, for Virgin Galactic Space Tourists Only!

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.

Related: Space Tourism Is About to Push Civilian Astronaut Medicine Into the Final Frontier

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Future astronauts signing up to fly to space with Virgin Galactic will have access to a special astronaut edition Range Rover.

(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

Scroll for views of the new Land Rover for space tourists and its partnership with Virgin Galactic.

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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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To individualize each Astronaut Edition @LandRover, the skid — the lightweight wooden breaking mechanism — from the astronaut-owner's spaceflight will be inscribed and added to the center console.

(Image credit: Virgin Galactic)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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(Image credit: Jaguar Land Rover)
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At the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, Range Rover Autobiography tows the new spaceship VSS unity,

(Image credit: Nick Dimbleby/Jaguar Land Rover)

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.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.

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