Back in 2014, Virgin founder Richard Branson announced that his new company – Virgin Galactic – would literally be sending a lucky few into space. We’re not talking trained astronauts here – although the company is calling these people “Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts” – but people who, according to the website, “are untied by a shared passion for the democratization of space travel”, whatever that means.
It seems that Land Rover thinks that many of them also share a passion for luxurious British motoring, as it announced today that it would be building an “Astronaut Edition” of the Range Rover Autobiography, reserved for those Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts. Actually, more specifically, it will be JLR’s Special Vehicle Operation subsidiary – those of F-Type SVR and Range Rover Sport SVR fame — that will be building it. In keeping with the “future” elements of all this, customers can order the PHEV version of the Range Rover, in addition to the V8 gas-powered version. Apparently, the Astronaut Edition is the fruit of a partnership with Virgin Galactic that launched – yep, I went there – in 2014.
“The Astronaut Edition Range Rover is the next step on this journey and the chance for the Future Astronaut Community to celebrate our two brands’ shared values of pioneering spirit and true sense of adventure,” said Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer at Land Rover. “The vehicle really will take them above and beyond.” Yep, he went there.
Astronaut Edition vehicles get Zero Gravity (of course) Blue paint, while the puddle lamps feature a silhouette of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo aircraft. There are special badges, too, while inside you’ll find parts of the first Virgin ship – the Unity – repurposed for use in the cupholders. Once a Zero Gravity Edition owner completes their journey, a piece of the ship they flew on will replace the original in their car, along with an inscription detailing the event. Other interior bits include metal door pulls engraved with the Future Astronaut Community constellation design.
If you want to go even more “custom” than that, each Future Astronaut’s initials can be stitched into the headrests.