Virgin Galactic has unveiled its new suborbital tourism aircraft, the VSS Imagine. Modular in design, the SpaceShip III class vehicle has a silvery skin, made from a material wich looks similar to a mirror.
A luxury ride
[It is] finished entirely with a mirror-like material [that] reflects the surrounding environment, constantly changing colour and appearance as it travels from earth to sky to space.
This advanced material offers potent thermal protection to shield future space travellers. Ground tests should begin 'soon,' according to the statement from Virgin Galactic, which aims to start for glide tests as soon as this summer.
Virgin Galactic aims to offer tourist flights in space, but the schedule continues to slide further. The first commercial space flights have been postponed until 2022 at the earliest, with test flights scheduled for later this year.
Ambition is the mother of success... or at least it's aunt
The company has the avowed ambition to offer 400 to 500 commercial flights per year, per spaceport. While the price of one admission ticket is currently around 250,000 dollars (approximately 181,500 pounds), Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, expressed the wish to lower this price on the CBS channel, however with offering any specific figures.
For now, though, some have already subscribed the 'One Small Step' program, which gives you priority access for the opportunity to book passage as soon as tickets will be up for sale. Among those early adopters are some celebrity passengers such as Justin Bieber and even Leonardo DiCaprio. Here's hoping there aren't any icebergs in low earth orbit!