Though Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been grabbing headlines recently, another commercial space effort is still continuing. Under the auspices of Richard Branson’s Virgin brand, Virgin Galactic have partnered with Microsoft to showcase its efforts in mass-marked space flight in virtual reality (VR).
Virgin Galactic have recently rolled out a new and upgraded version of its website that allows visitors to experience an immersive tour of Virgin’s spaceships, including the SpaceShipTwo space-plane and the WhiteKnightTwo mothership.
The new website utilises the open-source WebVR in order to offer the virtual tour to visitors. The VR aspect can be activated by clicking the ‘Explore’ button on the homepage. Those using a VR headset can use gaze controls to navigate through VR environments. There are several interactive areas that will provide further animations of things like SpaceShipTwo.
The website is accessible to all and works well in Google Chrome but is optimised from the Microsoft Edge browser. The site works on smartphones and offers a similar experience to the desktop version.
“Partnering with Virgin Galactic offered the Microsoft Edge team a unique opportunity to use web technology as a digital gateway to tell the story of the future of human space exploration through unique, exclusive and memorable experiences,” Microsoft Edge’s Divya Kumar and Virgin Galactic’s Tom Westray revealed in a blog post on Windows.com.
Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 with an initial aim of allowing tourists to take trips into space by 2007, though the company has seen a host of delays, including a terrible accident which saw test ship the VSS Enterprise break apart, killing two pilots.
Despite these problems, the VSS Unity has completed its seventh successful glide flight while under conditions designed to simulate the effects that will apply during a space flight. This has raised hope among the company’s personnel that they may be taking tourists to space in the near future.
As always, VRFocus will keep you informed on new and innovative VR projects and services.