Land Rover Astronaut Edition

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
land rover astronaut edition

Exclusivity is the name of the game for high-end automakers. While mainstream brands are busy chasing down volume, they’re courting your betters. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer can simply tag a vehicle with a lofty MSRP and call it a day. They have to convince their smaller customer base that they’re getting something special in return. Enter the most insane special edition we’ve seen in a while: the Land Rover Astronaut Edition.

As the name suggests, this is an SUV literally reserved for those who have been in space — or, more accurately, have set aside the necessary funds to do so through Virgin Galactic.

The vehicle is the offspring of a longstanding partnership between Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations and Richard Branson’s space-fairing lovechild, so owners will actually be more astro-tourist than astronaut. That said, they’ll still be able to proclaim they’ve been to sub-orbital space and motion to their “Zero Gravity Blue” SUV to prove it.

The Astronaut Edition is based on the short-wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography and comes in two flavors. Those interested in virtue signaling after utilizing the planet’s finite resources to engage in some cosmic sightseeing will appreciate the P400e plug-in hybrid’s eco-friendly 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric motor. But everyone else will probably want the high-performance P525, which comes with a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 making 518 ponies.

Regardless of powertrain, all Astronaut Edition vehicles receive white leather interiors with contrasting blue stitching and a smattering of carbon fiber. Obviously, space-themed badging abounds — extending all the way to a bespoke puddle lamp design featuring a silhouette of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. However, the most interesting inclusion has to be the custom cup holder crafted from the spaceship’s front landing skid, which can be swapped.

From Land Rover:

Inside, the Astronaut Edition features a crafted piece of the spaceship’s front landing skid that flew on Virgin Spaceship Unity’s first space flight in December 2018. Part of that skid, which provides the spaceship with a highly effective, lightweight braking mechanism, has been re-purposed to form two discs within the cup holders. One of these references a quote which Richard Branson often makes to his fellow Future Astronauts — ‘See you up there’ -and the other features the details of the space flight. Once a Future Astronaut has flown to space, and becomes an astronaut, this will be swapped out with part of the wooden skid from that customer’s own spaceflight, personally inscribed with the specific details of a life changing experience.

As a ticket to space currently costs $250,000 with Virgin and only exist in limited quantities, very few Land Rover Astronaut Editions are likely to be manufactured. The automaker has not yet specified a price tag for the model, but it’s going to expensive — not that it matters to any of us little people stuck on the ground.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Rudiger Rudiger on May 14, 2019

    Dang, is it April 1st already? How long have I been asleep? What year is it?

    • Lie2me Lie2me on May 14, 2019

      1969 and we just got back from the moon, everything in our culture is space orientated. You and Land Rover have been asleep for 50 frickin' years

  • Garrett Garrett on May 14, 2019

    Horrible co-branding. Nobody considers Land Rover vehicles to be reliable. Why would you want that association with your space flight venture?

  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck Wait...how do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?
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