Buy Your Ticket to Space: Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to go Public Today
Virgin Galactic plans to take paying tourists to suborbital space in the first half of 2020, aboard the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft for $250,000 per ticket.
Virgin Galactic's First Spaceflight (Image Source: Virgin Galactic)
Richard Branson and his Space Tourism firm Virgin Galactic will go public on October 28, launching their futuristic commercial space tourism dream into reality. Company shareholders had approved a merger earlier this year with Sri-Lankan American Venture Capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya’s firm Social Capital Hedosophia holding company. While the now-public entity will debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today, the joint venture only takes effect from November 1.
In July, Branson and Palihapitiya had announced that Virgin Galactic will be the first publicly traded human spaceflight company. This arrangement requires Social Capital to make an $800 million investment in Virgin Galactic. But then, one doesn’t expect an annual vacation to Space to cost … Well actually, there really is no precedent here, so what would it cost for the ultimate astrophile’s trip to a universe far far away? $250,000. Yep. One ticket aboard the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft will leave a $250,000-sized dent in your spacesuit.
Virgin Galactic aims to bring paying tourists to suborbital space using its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft and modified carrier airplane launch platform. The company recently unveiled the spacesuits its customers will wear on their journey into Space in the first half of 2020 if all goes according to plan. The custom-made gear, made in collaboration with Under Armour, includes a limited-edition jacket, base layer, training suit, footwear and spacesuit.
The SpaceShipTwo spacecraft can host up to six passengers, potentially earning the company up to $1.5 million in revenue per flight. Virgin Galactic says more than 600 people are already waiting in queue to take the trip. However, it remains to be seen whether the company will pass the market’s acid test on Monday when going on the trading floor will reveal the confidence or lack thereof, that the public market investors have in the value of this business proposition.
In the meantime, Virgin Galactic continues to book customers for research missions as well, exploiting not just the wealthy, but also the curious for revenue sources.
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