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The Astronauts’ Other Ride

Land Rover lifts the curtain on its Discovery Vision Concept and a long-term partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s commercial spaceline

How would Land Rover top the media circus created at last year’s New York International Auto Show for shutting down several blocks during rush hour to have Daniel Craig deliver the new Range Rover Sport to a midtown event space? For the automaker, whose brand is built on the pioneering lifestyle, the only way to go, it seems, is up.

In conjunction with the unveiling of Land Rover’s Discovery Vision concept vehicle on top of the Intrepid aircraft carrier on the west side of Manhattan on Monday evening, the company also announced a partnership with Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson’s commercial space travel company set to start bringing adventurous (and wealthy) travelers into space this fall. A ticket out of this world will cost you $250,000 and over 500 “astronauts” have already signed up.

Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept

The Discovery Vision Concept, Land Rover’s design vision for a family of new premium SUVs, that debuted in New York at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museu

On the eve of the year’s first total lunar eclipse, these two British brands—Land Rover, associated with an austere and long-standing tradition of exploration here on Earth, and Virgin Galactic, looking to lead the way towards accessible space travel for the masses—moved into phase. For now, the partnership will be largely practical. Land Rover will provide the “official vehicles” to shuttle astronauts and staff around at Virgin Galactic’s New Mexico Spaceport. However, Land Rover’s redrawn Discovery Vision concept sitting next to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (pictured below) on the deck of the Intrepid can only hint at the possibilities of this partnership into the next century. Virgin Galactic’s missions to space are largely a proof of concept that the private sector can pick up where governmental agencies like NASA left off—their missions skim the edge of space to show what’s possible.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo; photo by Paul Biedrzycki

“This is a marriage of two of Britain’s most iconic brands who 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,” says Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director of Jaguar Land Rover.

Eventually though, Virgin Galactic missions will be headed somewhere, for a weekend vacation on the Moon, or perhaps a relaxing week on Mars? And when we land, there’s sure to be a Land Rover Discovery, just like the one that dropped you off at the Spaceport on Earth, warmed up and waiting.

 

MORE:

Range Rover: Apocalypse Car?
Meet the Teeny Tiny Cars of Tomorrow
Unexpected Additions to the EV Market

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