Divya Kumar is on the Microsoft Edge team; Tom Westray is on the Virgin Galactic team.
We’ve all stared into the depths of the night sky, identified far off planets, and the Milky Way; but only fewer than 600 people have traveled above and beyond Earth’s atmosphere and into space. At Virgin Galactic, our rocket scientists, engineers and designers from around the world are united in creating something new and lasting that could change that – the world’s first commercial spaceflights for private astronauts and science research. We’re on the edge of a golden age of space exploration, which has the potential to transform our business and personal lives in ways we can only yet imagine.
Virgin Galactic’s vision to open space to change the world for good and to become the spaceline for earth is ushering in a new era that could make space accessible to more people and for more purposes than ever before. Along with the hundreds of future astronauts who have already made reservations to fly, it is important to create an inclusive experience for as many people as possible to join the journey.
Today, we are excited to share that this vision of inclusivity led to a unique collaboration between Virgin Galactic and Microsoft Edge: together we have developed a fully revamped, mobile-friendly and touch-optimized website for Virgin Galactic that features virtual experience through WebVR, accessible to all on the web.
Partnering with Virgin Galactic offered the Microsoft Edge team a unique opportunity to use web technology as a digital gateway to tell the story of the future of human space exploration through unique, exclusive and memorable experiences. The website is built to create a deeper connection between the global population and space travel by demonstrating how space exploration, research and transportation has the potential to improve life for everyone. It tells the story of Virgin Galactic and a new wave of astronauts as they pioneer space access for all. It also honors the beginning of a new era, where spaceflight discoveries are open to more people than ever before with modern web technologies, making that vision accessible through Microsoft Edge.
When people come to the website for the first time, I want them to realize that anything is possible. It’s real, it’s in front of them. They can touch it and see it and immerse themselves and play.— Beth Moses, Chief Astronaut Trainer, Virgin Galactic
The digital portal, launched today with Microsoft Edge, brings awe-inspiring details of this journey to life for aspiring astronauts. Microsoft engaged a third-party interactive agency to envision and develop the new website. The very latest in web technology delivers the thrill of space travel to a broader audience than ever before — possible through 2D, 3D, and virtual reality experiences. These new website features include:
Innovative mixed-reality – With immersive browser WebVR, and anyone can tour the space fleet using Windows Mixed Reality devices. Hotspots provide key details about the WhiteKnightTwo mothership, spaceship VSS Unity and the Virgin Galactic team. A parallel 3D tour is offered for aspiring astronauts without VR devices.
Micro-interactions, parallax and animations – Enjoy a fluid site experience by interacting with a variety of VSS Unity features, the sensation of views in parallax, and animations that enhance your discovery.
Mobile-friendly and touch-optimized – In keeping with the goal of a captivating venture, the site is mobile-friendly and touch-optimized for intuitive use.
The spirit of what Microsoft Edge is bringing to the Virgin Galactic website is a very kindred spirit. It’s the same creativity, the same innovation, the same storytelling mode that we have.— Julia Tizard, Vice President, Virgin Galactic
We want people to see the depth and breadth of Virgin Galactic: we are a company of people who want to change the world for good by opening up space for personal travel and science research. One of the Virgin Galactic tenets is to be delightfully surprising, and the work with Microsoft Edge delivers that with the new browser technologies on the website. It’s a visual experience, an audio and a mixed-reality immersive experience; the combined experiences have the potential sensory excitement which captures what we want people to feel when they go on a space flight.
Try the experience today at virgingalactic.com!
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About Microsoft Edge Web Showcase
Microsoft Edge Web Showcase is dedicated to partnering with organizations around the world to highlight extraordinary and exciting new ventures. This program explores opportunities to contribute to a diverse set of educational programs and to develop partnerships to showcase web technology.