Virgin Galactic opens spaceflight tickets to public for $450,000

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Billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic has opened up ticket sales to the general public for its first flight of 2022.

The company has pegged the tickets at a whopping $450,000 each, the Verge reported.

To secure their seat, customers must pay a $150,000 deposit and then pay the remaining $300,000 before the flight. Virgin Galactic has an application that individuals can fill out on the company’s website.

Virgin Galactic successfully flew its founder, Branson, to space in July last year.

The company then planned to fly a follow-up flight called Unity 23, which would carry three members of the Italian Air Force, becoming the first revenue-generating flight.

But in September, Virgin Galactic put the flight on pause after finding a manufacturing defect in a company vehicle.

The next month, the company gave an update saying that it would not resume commercial flights until the end of 2022 in order to conduct a full “enhancement programme” of its vehicles, the report said.

Ahead of the first commercial flight this year, the company has also set an internal goal of reaching 1,000 ticket sales.

Virgin Galactic also has a bit of a backlog of customers who have already put down reservations for trips to space.

The company has roughly 600 customers who made reservations for $250,000 during the initial ticketing round, which began roughly a decade ago.

The company then opened ticket sales again last August, allowing people who had expressed interest in purchasing a ticket to the company to actually buy a seat. Those tickets also ran $450,000, secured with a $150,000 deposit. Virgin Galactic said it sold 100 of those, the report said.

To get to space, customers will fly in one of Virgin Galactic’s spaceplanes, which is carried to an altitude of roughly 49,000 feet underneath the wing of a massive carrier aircraft called White Knight Two.

Once at the right height, White Knight Two releases the plane, which then ignites its onboard rocket engine, initiating the climb to space. As the plane ascends to more than 50 miles above the Earth, passengers on board can unbuckle their seatbelts and float about the cabin for a few minutes.

Then to get back to Earth, the pilots shift the spaceplane’s wings and glide down to a runway, a bit like a regular plane, the report said.

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