Space tourism has taken another leap forward as Virgin Galactic unveiled the design for the passenger cabin of the VSS Unity, the world's first commercial spacecraft.

Despite setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is still hoping to send space tourists on a 90-minute trip outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. The company had initially planned to start with 16 flights a year in 2020 but that goal has been pushed back and no set date has been confirmed. However, plans appear to be pushing ahead as this week Virgin Galactic released a virtual tour of the VSS Unity's passenger cabin.

Virgin Galactic Spaceship Cabin
Integrated communication screens will help passengers talk with space pilots ©Virgin Galactic

Designed to house six passengers and a two-member crew, the cabin is fitted with reclining seats tailored to suit each person's weight and height. Each passenger has a personal, integrated communication system that will give them direct access to the two space pilots. Large circular porthole windows will treat everyone on board to spectacular views of the blue planet standing out against the blackness of space as the spacecraft ascends 97km (60 miles) above Earth.

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Smartphones are banned, as they would float in the cabin and potentially hurt somebody, but that doesn't mean photos are off limits. Sixteen cameras have been placed around the cabin to capture stills of the"future astronauts" in orbit with the Earth in the background. Two more cameras will record videos of any other awe-inspiring moments. The cabin also features a large, circular mirror in the back "to allow our customers to see themselves in space in a way that has really never been done before," said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's chief space officer.

Female space tourist on board the VSS Unity
Cabin mirrors will allow passengers to see themselves as they experience moments of weightlessness ©Virgin Galactic

In a statement, Whitesides confirmed that passengers will get the chance to unbuckle their harness and float in the cabin at a certain point in the flight. Soft furnishings should prevent any injuries and there are grips that people can hold on to for comfort.

Despite Branson's claims that the Virgin Galactic will open "space travel to everybody" Reuters reports that 60 people have so far signed up, at a cost of $250,000 per ticket. The spacecraft will depart from Virgin Galactic's spaceport in New Mexico, taking to the skies with the help of a larger aircraft before detaching mid-air and blasting into space.

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