Virgin Galactic offers peek inside new space plane for tourists

Inside of VSS Unity unveiled, showing the cabin in which six passengers will be able to float in zero gravity on the edge of space

Virgin Galactic has revealed the interior of its centrepiece space plane, showing off a cabin with new custom seats and a “space mirror” in a virtual tour of what its passengers can expect to experience on flights to the edge of space.

For $250,000 a ticket, passengers who have signed up for the suborbital flight aboard the air-launched plane VSS Unity will strap into six tailored seats and be able to peer out of the cabin’s 12 circular windows as they ascend 97km (60 miles) above Earth. The plane has five other windows.

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Virgin Trains USA to start running through Florida

Brightline’s Miami-West Palm Beach link will be rebranded in 2019

Sir Richard Branson is extending his rail empire across the Atlantic. Virgin Group has announced that it will take a minority share in Brightline, a start-up train operator in Florida.

Brightline launched express services earlier this year from Miami via Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, with an extension to Orlando under construction and plans for a line to Tampa. It also intends to build a link between Las Vegas and southern California.

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The race to get tourists to suborbital space is heating up


SPACE: FINAL FRONTIER or ultimate tourist destination? Possibly both—provided you have the cash.

Already, you can buy tickets for (as-yet-unscheduled) flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, the crew vehicle developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. And at a NewSpace conference in Seattle last month, Blue Origin—helmed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos—announced that it has plans to sell tickets to wannabe space tourists as early as next year.

Both companies have solid plans to cash in on human space travel (and then, of course, there’s SpaceX, which will focus first on shuttling astronauts to and from the space station). Branson has said that Virgin Galactic is in a race with itself, not other companies, to achieve safe human space flight. But with Blue Origin aiming to start selling tickets next year, both companies could be competing for business sooner rather than later.

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Bill Gates and Richard Branson are investing in a mysterious new meat


Just as Whole Foods shareholders and the Federal Trade Commission gave the green light to Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, news broke that a number of high-profile investors—including billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson—have decided to pour their money into a very different sort of food venture: Memphis Meats, a San Francisco-based company that is developing meat from stem cells.

The start-up is part of a growing “clean meat” movement intended to produce a variety of sustainable, lab-grown meat products using animal cells, without having to actually feed or slaughter any animals in the process.

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Financial services ripe for disruptive innovation

financial services

Richard Branson

Technology is having a profound impact on so many sectors, creating opportunities, speeding up development and leveling the playing field so that leading companies can no longer take success for granted. It is an incredibly exciting time for innovation across the sector. (Videos)



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