Land Rover and Virgin Galactic partner for testing programmes

Land Rover and Virgin Galactic have given an exclusive window into their prototype testing and development process.

The two companies announced their global partnership this April and have since shared values and experiences to develop new and cutting edge technologies for both the roadway and the spaceway.

World’s first commercial spaceline

Both partners are nearing the release of their latest projects: the all-new Discovery Sport for Land Rover and the world’s first commercial spaceline for Virgin Galactic.

Murray Dietsch, programme director for Land Rover, said: “We start with an idea and build from there, spending years refining a design and completing virtual testing before the first prototypes see the tarmac.

“As our partnership with Virgin Galactic develops, it will be fascinating to get closer to their team and explore common areas of engineering and expertise.”

The new Discovery Sport prototypes have covered round 750,000 miles during their testing phase, which has taken them to some of the world’s harshest and most challenging terrains.

A total of 181 prototypes were constructed, each completing over 11,000 tests throughout their lifetimes to further refine the build and design quality of the new vehicle.


Likewise, Virgin Galactic’s testing and refinement of SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial passenger-carrying spacecraft, is ongoing with help from the Land Rover team of experts.

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said: “As we look to launching the world’s first spaceline, Virgin Galactic continues to push boundaries and develop pioneering new innovations that bring to life our vision.

“In engineering and design, like Land Rover, our focus is on precision, ingenuity, and unparalleled design.”

Last week, Jaguar Land Rover revealed the first official images of the new Discovery Sport model.

The model is expected to go on sale alongside the existing Discovery model next year. It’s also expected to be powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s range of new Ingenium engines, which will debut in the new Jaguar XE model later in the year.

Each of the Ingenium engines will come equipped with state-of-the-art turbochargers to improve performance, while the modular design of the engine means that each will share common internal components.

Meanwhile, the Virgin Galactic team are continuing flight tests and engineering programmes ahead of the launch of its spaceflight programme.

Earlier this year, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson pegged December 25th as the launch date for carrying the first commercial passengers.

However, with ticket prices expected to start from £148,000 and actual spaceflight predicted to last only mere minutes, if it’s an out of this world experience you’re seeking, you could always get an F-TYPE instead…