Range Rover builds limited-run Astronaut Edition for space flight customers

Range Rover has designed a limited-edition model that’s only available to members of Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronauts community.

The extremely niche model is based on the top-spec Autobiography trim and has been dubbed Astronaut Edition, with a number of design features inspired by space flight. Buyers can choose between a plug-in hybrid powertrain or a high-performance 5.0-litre V8.

The exterior paint job is called Zero Gravity Blue and replicates “the depth and intensity of the night sky”. Meanwhile, there are badges throughout the car featuring a logo with the silhouette of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

Inside, the Astronaut Edition uses a piece of the front landing skid from Virgin’s first test flight in December 2018. The piece was designed to provide the spaceship with improved braking performance and has been repurposed to form two discs within the cup holders.

One has been engraved with a quote from Richard Branson that reads “see you up there,” while the other has details of the space flight. Once the owner has taken their trip, the discs will be swapped out for pieces from the skid plate of the actual aircraft they travelled on.

Stephen Attenborough, chief commercial officer at Virgin Galactic, said: “Land Rover joined Virgin Galactic on its journey to space in 2014 and from the start, the collaboration has been underpinned by iconic design, engineering excellence and desire to push the boundaries of travel for the next generation.

“The Astronaut Edition has been crafted with that in mind, a meaningful and lasting embodiment of a shared vision. We could not be more excited to be able to offer this unique vehicle to our wonderful, global community of pioneering Future Astronaut customers”.

Virgin Galactic aims to become the first company to offer commercial space flight. CEO Richard Branson has been promising to fly customers to space for over a decade, but the programme has faced setbacks following two fatal incidents cost a total of four lives.

The aircraft SpaceShipTwo made its first trip to space in December and achieved an even higher ascent in February. Branson plans to take a trip on the shuttle this year, but it’s unclear when paying customers will make the journey. Tickets are believed to cost approximately £190,000.

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