Space-grade metal

Aluminium has become an inherent part of our daily lives. Every day we are surrounded by things made of this metal – kitchenware, packaging, smartphones, laptops, cars, trains, buildings, planes – most of these have aluminium component or use it as the main material.
13 August, 2020
However, this metal is not just widespread on Earth. It is also vital for space exploration, which is proved by the fact that almost all cutting-edge space-related constructions use aluminium.
For example, not so long ago Virgin Galactic has revealed the interior cabin of its SpaceshipTwo craft, designed in collaboration with London studio Seymourpowell especially for touristic sub-orbital flight that will provide "safety without distraction".

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The spacecraft called the Virgin Spaceship Unity (VSS Unity) will be able to take six passengers to view the Earth from the Space and experience several minutes of weightlessness.

Made from the highest-grade aluminium and carbon fibre, with engineered foam and technical fabric finishing, the seats, which are important for ensuring comfortable raveling, are covered with a 3D-knitted sleeve, which ensures optimum comfort while indicating a sense of "performance and agility". Thanks to aluminium used, the seats appear to be light but durable at the same time, which is important for the purposes of space travelling.

Photo: Dezeen
The seats are individually sized to fit each passenger's body measurements. They are also equipped with a pilot-controlled recline mechanism, which will help the passengers to endure gravitational forces without detracting from "the thrill of the ride", as well as freeing up the surrounding cabin space to act as a "float zone" when in zero gravity.

According to the official press release: "SpaceShipTwo's cabin was deliberately sized to allow for an out-of-seat weightlessness experience for the astronauts on board. The interior design focusses on this critical part of the experience. Soft cabin surfaces and elements become intuitive hand and footholds, allowing astronauts to explore the cabin freely and fully. The "Halo" surrounds to twelve large windows have soft extended edges, which allow astronauts to perfectly position themselves for 360 degrees of awe-inspiring views, from the infinity of outer space to the beauty of our home planet.

Photo: Dezeen
Virgin Galactic's current community of 600 Future Astronauts has always been clear that having photos and videos of their spaceflight experience to share, is of paramount importance. The output from 16 cabin cameras, plus those in the cockpit and mounted externally, will generate high definition output to provide everything from the first Instagram posts, to a beautifully edited and historically significant personal movie.

To further elevate the experience of floating in zero-gravity, the cabin includes a first for space travel, a large, circular mirror on the aft bulkhead which, by adding a tint to the reflective surface, allows astronauts to view themselves weightless while illuminated by the natural brightness of the Earth."

The cabin is the design centerpiece, "providing safety without distraction, quietly absorbing periods of sensory intensity and offering each astronaut a level of intimacy required for personal discovery and transformation," the design team explained.

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group said: ''When we created Virgin Galactic, we started with what we believed would be an optimal customer experience and then built the spaceship around it. We will continue with that ethos as we expand our fleet, build our operations and underpin Virgin Galactic's position as the Spaceline for Earth. This cabin has been designed specifically to allow thousands of people like you and me to achieve the dream of spaceflight safely – and that is incredibly exciting.''

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