Virgin Galactic is seeking to cash in on by giving 100 more space tickets to people. The success of a high profile test mission in July. Which saw Branson beat by a matter of days Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos in their billionaire space race.
Virgin Galactic has sold around 100 tickets since flying its founder Richard Branson to space last summer, with commercial services expected to begin by the end of 2022, the company said in its financial results Monday.
But since then, the company, which flies out of Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert, has faced setbacks.
In September, it was briefly grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which found the July flight deviated from its assigned airspace and Virgin Galactic did not communicate the “mishap” as required.
The company is currently in the process of enhancing its vehicles. Unlike Blue Origin and SpaceX, its main competitors in the nascent space tourism sector, Virgin Galactic deploys a massive carrier aircraft that takes off horizontally, gains high altitude, and drops a rocket-powered spaceplane that then soars into space.
The current price of the fare is $450,000 per seat. And well above the $200,000-$250,000 paid by some 600 customers from 2005 to 2014.
It is capable of roughly ten-minute hops into space and back, is unknown, but likely to be substantially higher. An online auction for the very first seat sold for $28 million, but the winner deferred their flight.