It’s not every day that a Range Rover (or any other vehicle) gets to tow a spaceship. To help launch the new Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in California, Land Rover brought a brand new Range Rover Autobiography to tow Richard Branson’s latest creation to its unveiling.
Named by Professor Stephen Hawking, the SpaceShipTwo is officially known as VSS Unity. The launch of the SpaceShipTwo comes 16 months after a fatal crash involving VSS Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo produced by the company.
Land Rover and Virgin Galactic entered a partnership in April 2014 and using the luxurious Autobiography off-roader in the unveiling ceremony of the VSS Unity was fitting.
“I have long been an enthusiastic supporter of human spaceflight, and in particular, efforts aimed at making this enormous human achievement more accessible,” Hawking said in a message broadcast at the launch event. “The first private astronauts will be pioneers. The first flights are expensive. But over time, I hope that space flight will become within the reach of far more of Earth’s population.”
Before the crash of SpaceShipTwo, the VSS Enterprise, 700 customers had signed up for a trip to space at a ticket price of $200 000 – $250,000 (R3 046 000 – R3 807 500). Virgin Galactic confirmed that some of those people had asked for a refund after the tragedy, however it also said that most customers have been waiting patiently, and the waiting list has grown.
“Together, we can make space accessible in a way that has only been dreamt of before now, and by doing so can bring positive change to life on Earth,” said Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.