Space Tourism: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Restarts Ticket Sales From $ 450,000, Science News
British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is relaunching the sale of tickets starting at $ 450,000 for space tourism.
The company, to capitalize on the success of last month’s full crew test flight, nearly doubled the amount people paid previously.
Between 2005 and 2014, around 600 people paid $ 200,000 to $ 250,000 to reserve seats on the Virgin spacecraft.
“We are delighted to announce the reopening of sales effective today,” CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement, with the first dibs going to people on a waiting list.
“As we strive to deliver the wonders of space to a large global population, we are excited to open the door to a whole new industry and consumer experience. “
See also | Want to become a space tourist? Here is all you need to do
Former Virgin Galactic Holdings CEO George Whitesides will soar into space during the aerospace company’s next test space flight.
Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic, soared into space earlier this month, defeating Amazon.com Inc’s Jeff Bezos to the last frontier.
Branson broke the Whitesides news at a party in New Mexico on July 11, following his own space flight.
Lori Garver, a former NASA assistant administrator, was present at the party and told CNBC that Branson said “George will be leading our next flight.”
The next test flight will take place in September and will involve members of the Italian Air Force.
Branson, whose space flight marked a symbolic milestone for the company he launched 17 years ago, touted the mission as a forerunner of a new era in space tourism.
Bezos, along with three others, including the world’s oldest space traveler and astronaut, Wally Funk, flew into space days later, aboard his own space company Blue Origin’s rocket.
There will be another test after the September mission, and then the first commercial flights will take place in the third quarter of 2022, Colglazier said during a call for results.
Offers for customers will include a single seat; multi-seating for couples, friends or family; and a buyout in full flight.
Two free places on a morning flight are to be won in a draw, registration is open until September 1.
The spaceplane was originally designed to carry six crew members, but last month’s flight, which has been described as “fully crewed,” only had four, suggesting it s is the current number.
Virgin’s space experiment involves an air-launched space plane, VSS Unity, which takes off attached to the belly of a huge aircraft carrying a runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
After gaining altitude, the spacecraft detaches from its mothership and ignites its rocket motor, soaring more than 80 kilometers above sea level.
The passengers unbuckle and experience a few minutes of weightlessness before the plane slides towards the runway to land.
The company has been criticized for its carbon footprint, which roughly equates to a transatlantic flight but for far fewer people. He said he was looking into the possibility of offsetting his emissions.
“Our long-term goal is to provide an almost daily cadence of spaceflight, and not just from New Mexico, but from several locations around the world,” CFO Doug Ahrens said on the call.
(With contributions from agencies)