Virgin Galactic wants to use VR to help train you for space travel in three days

Virgin Galactic is already embracing virtual and augmented reality to communicate how it wants to bring space travel to the general public, but the company could use the tech to teach you how to travel to space.

TechRadar spoke to Tom Westray, Creative Lead at Virgin Galactic, at VR World in London, about how the company is using VR and its aims for the future.

Westray said, "In Virgin Galactic's eyes we know [virtual reality] is going to be a big part of our future, not only in terms of marketing and events perspective but we think we can take it into astronaut training and help the experience of our astronauts as well."

Customers of Virgin Galactic won't be trained astronauts with years of experience before they're sent into space. Instead it'll be normal people who have paid for the privilege of travel.

Space oddity

Currently the price of a ticket with Virgin Galactic stands at $250,000, but there's no estimated flight date for any of the 650+ people who have already expressed an interest. The company is looking to integrate virtual reality into the short training process when the flights are ready to start.

Westray said, "Our customers will come down to our space port for four days. They fly on the fourth day and those first three days are training. The idea is that any normal person can come and fly with us, so we give them those three days of training.

"It’s not what you’ve seen in the movies, it’s more of an experience optimization so they’re comfortable with the cabin and what’s going to happen so when they have that experience there’s no shock and they can purely spend their time enjoying it. So certainly [virtual reality] is going to be the next chapter for us."

Exactly when the first Virgin Galactic flights will be ready to take off is still unclear, but by the time the company is ready to send tourists into space we may be experiencing a whole new wave of virtual reality tech.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.