Virgin Galactic has unveiled its third-generation spacecraft, the VSS Imagine. Finished in an entirely mirror-like material, the craft is designed to reflect the surrounding environment, allowing it to change colour and appearance as it travels from Earth to space.
Virgin Galactic said the third generation of spaceships was “built to enable improved performance in terms of maintenance access and flight rate.” The company also said VSS Imagine demonstrates progress towards efficient design and production as it works to “scale the business for the long-term”.
As the new ship is ground-tested, Virgin Galactic will progress the manufacturing of another third-generation vehicle, VSS Inspire.
Imagine, will take you there.
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) March 30, 2021
Speaking about the unveiling of the new spaceship, Virgin Chief Sir Richard Branson said:
“Virgin Galactic spaceships are built specifically to deliver a new, transforming perspective to the thousands of people who will soon be able to experience the wonder of space for themselves.
“As a SpaceShip III class of vehicle, Imagine is not just beautiful to look at, but represents Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of spaceships.
“All great achievements, creations and changes start with an idea. Our hope is for all those who travel to space to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas that will bring positive change to our planet.”
The company said it is targeting 400 flights per year, per spaceport, as part of a multi-year effort.
Meanwhile, Land Rover has announced a three-year extension to its global partnership with Virgin Galactic. Land Rover will remain an integrated part of Virgin Galactic’s day-to-day operations as the company completes test flights with ‘SpaceShipTwo’ and begins a regular commercial service.