Space exploration has already given us momentous things like the microwave oven; what will space travel offer up in the long run? What about spacecraft furniture will it take off in our domestic abodes? Will its design features appeal to the trendy and cool among us? Or, even trickle down into the Kmarts and Wal-Marts in a suburb near you? As Virgin Galactic approaches lift off in the not too distant future it is time to cast an eye over their spaceships and in particular the furniture within them.
The thing about space travel, as sexy as it may first seem, it is all about fuel/weight ratios. Which means, super light weight furniture and furniture moulded into space saving shapes. Most of the space within a spacecraft, during launch is taken up by the fuel, often this section of the craft is discarded once they leave the Earth’s atmosphere. If you think things are crowded in Virgin domestic right now, there is not going to be a hell of a lot more space in the rocket ship, except on the other side of the plexiglass. What will the furniture upon Virgin Galactic look and feel like? What special properties does it need to go from the g-forces of lift-off to the absolute opposite: zero gravity?
For short journeys into space a comfortable and secure seat will be paramount. This highly manoeuvrable seat will, I imagine, allow for adjustments of body position at the required times during the flight. Don’t forget we are talking about a low gravity weightless environment here, meaning that cramp and deep vein thrombosis will not be likely issues. Your seat will be holding you in rather than numbing your bum. Entertainment units are another opportunity for space ship furniture design to show the way.
On your Virgin Galactic spin around the moon hostesses will be offering refreshments in a whole new format. If you thought that airline food was bad just wait until you try it in outer space. Of course, joining the mile high club will be leaving yourself well short of the mark; it is 238 900 miles to the moon from earth. Reports of astronauts and cosmonauts having had sex in space are not confirmed by space agencies like NASA; although the missionary position has been thought to be impossible without gravity. Spacecraft furniture for this task will need to be specially designed and is unlikely to have a market back on earth.