Land Rover was part of the mission in which the SpaceShip Two Unity craft completed its first every fully crewed space flight, with founder Sir Richard Branson on board. (Not something you read often, isn’t it?). Actually, Land Rover has been associated with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic enterprise program to bring commercial space flight to non-professional astronauts since 2014.
I know you must be wondering what an automotive manufacturer has to do with space travel, right? So let me give you the details. Land Rover is part of the daily life for the Virgin Galactic team. Their roles include towing the space vehicles, carrying equipment and clearing runways before take-off.
Curious to know more about the spaceship used in the mission? The SpaceShipTwo Unity craft travelled with four Mission Specialists and two pilots on board. The six-strong crew started and completed their task at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Sir Richard arrived for the ‘Unity 22’ mission in a Range Rover Astronaut Edition, and after a safe landing, his spacecraft was towed back to waiting for well-wishers by a Land Rover Defender 110.
Stephen Attenborough, Chief Customer Officer for Virgin Galactic, said: “Land Rover has been by our side, on our side and part of our daily lives at Virgin Galactic since 2014. It was completely fitting that these capable, luxurious and iconic vehicles played a central part in today’s historic events. As we look ahead to the start of a full commercial service, we couldn’t be more delighted to know that Land Rover will be going Above and Beyond, as together we open space to change the world for good.”
Back in 2019, Sir Richard Branson and Jaguar Land Rover Chief Creative Officer Prof Gerry McGovern OBE unveiled the Range Rover Astronaut Edition. This special edition is created by Land Rover’s bespoke SV department and is exclusively sold to Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut customers only. Hmm, it seems like a good perk to have for these customers apart from having the opportunity of flying to space!