Range Rover Astronaut Edition lifts off solely for Virgin Galactic customers

For astronauts only: Range Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) group announced the Range Rover Astronaut Edition, Autocar reports. The only customers who can buy the Astronaut Edition are people who reserved a space flight with Virgin Galactic. Called “Future Astronauts,” the 600 who signed up so far will pay $250,000 for the 90-minute experience.

Land Rover and Virgin Galactic announced a global partnership in 2014. In addition to the marketing opportunities related to the alliance, the two companies hoped the partnership would “inspire young people across the globe to pursue careers in engineering, science, and technology,” according to a joint statement released at the time. Virgin CEO Richard Branson hopes the partnership will inspire a generation.

To create the Astronaut Edition, the SVO group incorporated exclusive design elements on the SUV’s interior and exterior. The special edition is built on the SVO’s Range Rover SVAutobiography Edition, one of two SVO platforms. The SVAutobiography promises “peerless luxury.” The second SVO platform, the SVR, promises a “thrilling sports performance” from added elements to improve power, handling, and speed.

Land Rover reportedly delivers Range Rover Astronaut Editions with either the company’s 398-horsepower p400e plug-in hybrid engine or its 518-horsepower 5.5-liter P525 supercharged V8 gasoline motor.

The Astronaut Edition’s exterior is Zero Gravity Blue. Unique badging will grace the SUV’s sides and rear and an exclusive puddle lamp will project a Virgin Galactic logo. Virgin’s DNA of flight graphic will appear in several places inside the vehicle, including the console lid, rear armrest, and door handles.

The most exclusive of the special edition’s design elements will be discs in the front seat cup holders. Before Future Astronauts take their flights, those who purchase Range Rover Astronaut Editions will have discs made from the wooden landing skid from 2018’s flight of the Virgin Spaceship Unity. After they complete their $2,777-per-minute trips, the passengers status converts to “Astronaut,” and they will receive replacement discs for their cup holders made from the landing skid on which their flight landed.

Land Rover did not release prices for the Range Rover Astronaut Edition. Eligible customers may find relief that the vehicles will likely cost less than their ride into space because the 2019 Range Rover Autobiography prices start just under $135,000.

Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 spacecraft survives 8 days in a freezing cold vacuum chamber

The Mars 2020 rover, has been put through its paces in a further round of testing, undergoing acoustic and thermal vacuum tests which simulate the conditions of launch and space to check the craft can withstand extreme environments.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (May 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Whose name should we etch on the Mars 2020 rover? NASA wants a vote

Dream of making it to Mars? NASA has opened up a new public outreach program to let people send their names to the Red Planet, as an engraving on a silicon chip launched with the Mars 2020 rover.

2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport uses cameras to spot off-road obstacles

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport gets a host of new tech features, including a camera system that shows what's underneath the car. It also gets a mild-hybrid powertrain to improve gas mileage.

Parents will never miss soccer practice with BMW’s new 523-horsepower SUVs

BMW is launching M Performance versions of its biggest SUVs, the X5 and X7. While not full-on M models, they do pack 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engines, allowing both SUVs to sprint from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.

Don’t trust Tesla’s new autonomous lane-changing feature, Consumer Reports warns

Consumer Reports warns that last month's Autopilot updates that enabled automatic lane changing may put you at risk of a ticket or accident. Reaction times lagged what a human could do, testers say.

Texas awaits one signature to put a statewide stop to red light cameras

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs state House Bill 1631 into law, he will bring a halt to red light cameras in the state. The central issue in the bill's passage is the presumption of guilt of the registered owner of the car.

EV owners may still need to stop at a Chevron station, but not to buy gasoline

EVgo, the operator of a sizable network of electric car charging stations, has partnered with Chevron. Five Chevron stations located in California will install EVgo chargers that electric car owners can pay to use.

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV tries to balance power and efficiency with mild-hybrid V8

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLE will get a V8 mild-hybrid powertrain when it launches in the United States later in 2019. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 483 hp on its own, but can also get a 21 hp electric boost.

Audi TT will get the ax to make way for electric cars — and the R8 may be next

Once a design leader, the Audi TT will meet its demise to make room in Audi's lineup for more electric cars. Audi executives confirmed plans to kill off the TT at the automaker's annual shareholder meeting.

Honda recalls 119,000 2019 CR-V crossovers over fears of airbag deployment

A manufacturing defect in select 2019 Honda CR-V crossovers could cause the airbag to malfunction and unexpectedly deploy, leading the automaker to recall some 137,000 vehicles worldwide, 118,598 of them in the U.S.

Cadillac confirms V-Series performance versions of the CT5 and CT4

Cadillac will unveil CT5-V and CT4-V sports sedans in Detroit May 30. They will be the latest cars in the General Motors luxury brand's V-Series performance line, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Watch Cruise Automation’s driverless car perform one of the trickiest maneuvers

Unprotected left turns in urban environments are one of the trickiest maneuvers a driver has to perform — and the same goes for self-driving cars. Autonomous-vehicle company Cruise Automation appears close to nailing it.

Lyft’s wallet-friendly Shared Saver option arrives in six more U.S. cities

Lyft is expanding its wallet-friendly Shared Saver option to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle after launching it earlier this year in Denver, New York City, and San Jose.