Alton Towers announces VR ride Galactica

UK theme park Alton Towers has announced a new roller coaster that has its passengers wearing a virtual reality headset.

Simulation rides have been around for yonks, but Galactica will be the first to combine an actual rollercoaster with a virtual reality experience. Passengers will lay face down and experience a simulated trip across many galaxies, while enduring forces of up to 3.5gs.

It will use Samsung Gear VR headsets. The shoulder straps are designed in a such a way so as to limit head movement, meaning the motion-tracking is focused exclusively on the ride itself.

The ride, which lasts for three minutes, is due to open in April. It can hold 28 passengers at once (and 1,500 per hour) and runs for a length of 840m. The biggest drop is 20m and its maximum speed 47mph.

A non-VR version of the ride will also be offered.

It’s the first new ride announced by Alton Towers since one of its ride, the Smiler, crashed in June, leading to two women having their legs amputated. 14 others were also injured. Attendance at the park has been down since and it maintains that jobs remain at risk. It intends to close on some quiet mid-week days throughout 2016.

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