4 years ago

May 2019

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  • Bamford
  • Shenzhen
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Shenzhen by Range Rover Sport PHEV | A first drive in the new Range Rover Evoque | Mid-century modernist architecture in Germany | George Bamford on what makes true luxury | Meet moon-walker Charlie Duke | Carnival subculture in Brazil



T H E F I N A L F R O N T I E R With the likes of Virgin Galactic poised to make commercial space flight a reality, get ready to boldly go where no ticketholder has gone before... Ever since our earliest ancestors looked up to the starry skies, humans have always dreamed of exploring the great unknown above. Soon however, looking back down on the curvature of Earth will no longer be the sole preserve of national agencies’ astronauts. A new era of commercial space travel is dawning. The day is not far off when all those who have looked upwards longingly will have the opportunity to experience the wonder of space for themselves. Virgin Galactic is spearheading developments on this front. On 13th December last year, their project took a giant leap forward as mothership VMS Eve and spaceship VSS Unity took off from Mojave, California. Once released from the mothership, Unity’s pilots ignited its rocket motor for a 60-second burn, which propelled the craft to nearly three times the speed of sound and, for the first time, out of Earth’s atmosphere. This was a major milestone: the very first time that a crewed vehicle built for commercial passenger service has reached space, the pilots earning Commercial Astronaut Wings in recognition of their achievements. Sending crewed rocket-propelled vehicles into space is about much more than simply proving it can be done. According to Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur and philanthropist behind Virgin Galactic, the democratisation of space travel will “open space to everybody – and change the world for good”. Virgin Galactic’s mission is to alter the very way we see our world. “Space is not only important for the future of transportation,” said George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, hinting at the immense impact commercial spaceflight will have on global mobility. “It’s important for the future of imagination.” As the exclusive automotive partner of Virgin Galactic since 2014, Land Rover plays its own role in this mission, providing vehicles to support operations at Virgin Galactic’s build and test facilities in Mojave, and at their future home for flight operations, Spaceport America in New Mexico. Once regular commercial service begins, the vehicles will also play an integral role in the astronaut experience, transporting trainee astronauts between facilities for the three days of preparation before their spaceflights. On flight days, the Land Rovers will also shuttle the crew to the spaceship, and post-flight, bring back the fully fledged astronauts to Spaceport America for celebrations and the award of astronaut wings. The partnership goes beyond ground support; Virgin Galactic and Land Rover work together on joint youth-focussed STEM education programs around the world. They also run events for the 600 people who have already signed up to fly to space with Virgin Galactic – members of the company’s exclusive Future Astronaut community. These events, which take place at Land Rover Experience centres both in the UK and abroad, are helping spacefarers to prepare themselves to go above and beyond. STRATOSPHERIC LUXURY When you’ve touched space, will mere land vehicles seem pedestrian? Worry not; Land Rover has taken luxury to new heights. The company’s Special Vehicle Operations division has created the Range Rover Astronaut Edition, inspired by the two brands’ shared commitment to iconic design and engineering excellence. The exclusive edition is replete with bespoke features, from a unique multilayered paint colour inspired by the night sky to a console made from the spacecraft Unity’s engraved wooden braking skid, which can be later replaced with the equivalent from the customer’s own spaceflight. The Astronaut Edition is only available for purchase to those who have signed up to Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronauts programme. 49

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Land Rover Magazine


Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.

In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.

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