Off-Roading

Land Rover utilizing Red Cross all-terrain experts for Defender testing

Land Rover enlisted the help of the Red Cross to test the 2020 Land Rover Defender.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The Defender is coming back. Long a poorly kept secret, Land Rover gave enthusiasts a peek at the vehicle's development before the Land Rover Defender makes its way onto dealer lots.

The setting is Dubai and the drivers are members of the elite all-terrain experts from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Surrounded by sand dunes and the twisty tarmac of Jebel Jais highway, Dubai is a playground for off-road enthusiasts who also want to check out their vehicle's on-road prowess.

That's exactly what the IFRC drivers did.

2020 Land Rover Defender

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rover worked with IFRC drivers as a part of Defender development.

IFRC fleet drivers piloted the 4x4s over soft sand dunes, climbing steep ascents, pitching down side slopes, and conquering blind crests. This is similar testing to what was conducted by Rolls-Royce during development of their SUV, the Cullinan.

As temperatures climbed over 100 degrees, the drivers took to the 12 miles of hairpin turns of the Jebel Jais highway climbing to over 6,500-feet of elevation up to the top of Jebel Yibir mountain, the tallest point in the United Arab Emirates.

The new Defender has already undergone over 745,000 miles of testing as part of its development.

Land Rover debuted the 2020 Land Rover Defender at the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this year.

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The Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition is exclusively offered to future space tourists.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Virgin Galactic and Land Rover have extended their global partnership for another three years. Land Rover will continue to be part of the world's first commercial spaceline's day-to-day operations as Virgin Galactic competes test flights with SpaceShipTwo and begins regular commercial service.

Land Rover vehicles tow space vehicles, carry equipment, and clear runways before takeoff. The Land Rovers assisted with Virgin Galactic's move from test families in Mojave, California to Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

Land Rover says that the vehicles also "played key roles during the company's first two spaceflights which saw Virgin Galactic become the first private company to fly humans to space on a spaceship designed for commercial service".

Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut EditionĀ 

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Virgin Galactic has already signed-up around 600 Future Astronaut customers, who will be transported to their flights from Spaceport America, in Land Rover vehicles.

"Land Rover vehicles provide invaluable support on the ground in Mojave and at Spaceport America in New Mexico," said Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Galactic. "It is also fabulous to see our Future Astronauts around the world enjoying the unique Range Rover Astronaut Edition. We are delighted to be able to extend this strong partnership. With a shared pioneering spirit, pursuit of adventure and vision to push the boundaries of travel, this is a natural collaboration between our two companies and one that will take exploration to new heights.''

The Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition debuted in 2019. It was revealed by Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson and Jaguar Land Rover Chief Creative Officer Prof Gerry McGovern OBE. The SUV has been created by Land Rover SV Bespoke and offered exclusively to Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts.

Virgin Galactic has a team of eight highly experienced pilots and is preparing for its next rocket-powered flight in New Mexico. Founder Sir Richard Branson is planning to fly to space later in 2021.

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