Land Rover has become the first global partner for Richard Branson’s new commercial spaceship division, Virgin Galactic.
The partnership is described as a long-term one and will see the entire Virgin Galactic team now use Land Rovers – and all ‘Future Astronauts’ will be chauffeured in Land Rovers as they arrive in New Mexico for training.
A fleet of Land Rovers will be based at both Virgin Galactic’s test centre in the Mojave Desert, California, and at the new Spaceport America base in New Mexico.
USS Intrepid and Land Rover
Remarkably, Land Rover made the announcement aboard USS Intrepid, the former aircraft carrier that’s now a sea, air and space museum, on the eve of the New York Motor Show.
Land Rover arranged for a replica of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise (the world’s first commercial passenger-carrying spacecraft) to be docked on board the ship, alongside the new Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept.
With British Airways Concorde and Space Shuttle Enterprise also on board USS Intrepid, it was a staggering display of technology that wowed more than 200 VIP guests.
Branson – ‘crossing the final frontier together’
Richard Branson wasn’t among them but was still effusive about the new partnership. “We couldn’t be more delighted to have Land Rover join us on our incredible journey,” he said. “It is hard to think of brand which is more synonymous with exploration and adventure.
“The safety and engineering excellence of Land Rover’s vehicles, which have been the stuff of legend for more than 65 years, are attributes which also lie at the heart of Virgin Galactic.
“We look forward to crossing the final frontier together and to a long and fruitful partnership.”
Land Rover group market director Phil Popham spoke about what’s surely one of the most amazing marketing alliances in recent memory. “This is a marriage of two of Britain’s most iconic brands which celebrate shared values, a pioneering spirit and a true sense of adventure.
“Not only do we both share the same long-term vision to enable mankind to explore, but we also want to develop this partnership to inspire others.
“Land Rover’s heart beats ‘above and beyond’ – we are pioneers on land and Virgin Galactic is the pioneer of space. It’s a very special match of brands with a shared vision.”
We should say so. And for the 700 individuals who have so far paid $85 million in deposits to become the first private individuals in space, it’s official: your space travel experience starts with travel in a Land Rover…