Virgin Galactic DOUBLES the price of tickets as it reopens sales starting at $450,000 for its 2022 passenger flights

  • Virgin Galactic is reopening tickets for its space tourism trips to the edge of space that will start at $450,000 
  • There will be three offerings: a single seat; a multi-seat couples / friends / family package; and full-flight buy out 
  • It previously sold tickets between $200,000 and $250,000 per seat 
  • Virgin Galactic CEO said the firm was ‘leveraging the surge in consumer interest’ after last month’s successful flight 

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic said tickets for its space tourism trips to the edge of space will start at $450,000, nearly double what they sold in previous sales.

In a statement announcing the company’s second-quarter earnings, the Las Cruces, New Mexico-based company said it would reopen sales for its 2022 commercial flights after having closed them years ago.

There will be three consumer offerings: i) a single seat; ii) a multi-seat couples / friends / family package; and iii) full-flight buy out, the company added.

Several years ago, the company said its price point would be roughly $200,000 per seat, before an accident caused the company to close sales. 

Branson traveled 53.5 miles above the surface of the Earth, taking him and five crew mates to the edge of space where they experienced weightlessness

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‘Sales will initially open to the Company’s significant list of early hand-raisers, prioritizing the Spacefarer Community, who, as promised, will be given first opportunity to reserve their place in space,’ Virgin Galactic said in the statement.

‘A follow-on priority list will be opened to customers interested in reserving future spaceflights.’

In the statement, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said the firm was ‘leveraging the surge in consumer interest’ after last month’s successful flight.

‘As we endeavor to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience,’ Colglazier added.

In early July, Branson, along with five other members, traveled 53.5 miles above the surface of the Earth, going to the edge of space where they experienced weightlessness.

Sir Richard Branson floats in zero gravity on board Virgin Galactic’s passenger rocket plane VSS Unity after reaching the edge of space above Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic has not yet responded to a request for comment from DailyMail.com. 

During the quarter, Virgin Galactic had an adjusted EBIDTA loss of $56 million, generating $571,000 in revenue from scientific research experiments that were performed on the May test flight. 

Pictured: The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo space plane Unity flies at Spaceport America, near Truth and Consequences, New Mexico on July 11, 2021 before travel to the cosmos with Sir Richard Branson onboard with five other crew members

The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo space plane Unity flies at Spaceport America before travel to the cosmos

In addition to reopening ticket sales, Virgin Galactic said its next spaceflight test, Unity 23, would happen in late September at Spaceport America in New Mexico, with members of the Italian Air Force. 

After Unity 23, it will go through a four-month pause, with the Unity 24 test flight coming later this year.

If all goes well, Unity 25, scheduled for the third-quarter of 2022, will be its first commercial flight.

Astronaut Sir Richard Branson has inaugurated the dawn of the age of space tourism by becoming the first billionaire to make it into space after the 70-year-old Virgin Galactic founder took off on a flight to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere in the VSS Unity plane

Virgin said it still has approximately 600 reservations for future flights, though most of those were sold between $200,000 and $250,000, according to CNBC.

In June, it received approval from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to give the firm the right to send paying customers into space.  

Earlier this year, SpaceX founder Elon Musk purchased a ticket to fly on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity ship, putting down a $10,000 deposit, the company confirmed in July. 

HOW DOES RICHARD BRANSON’S VIRGIN GALACTIC CONDUCT ITS SPACE FLIGHTS?

Unlike other commercial spaceflight companies, such as Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic initiates its flights without using a traditional rocket launch.

Instead, the firm launches its passenger-laden SpaceShipTwo and other craft from a carrier plane, dubbed WhiteKnightTwo.

WhiteKnightTwo is a custom-built, four-engine, dual-fuselage jet aircraft, designed to carry SpaceShipTwo up to an altitude of around 50,000 feet (15,240 metres).

The first WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve – which Virgin Galactic has used on all of its test flights – was rolled-out in 2008 and has a high-altitude, heavy payload capacity.

Unlike other commercial spaceflight companies, such as Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic initiates its flights without using a traditional rocket launch. Instead, the firm launches its passenger-laden SpaceShipTwo and other craft from a carrier plane, dubbed WhiteKnightTwo. Once SpaceShipTwo has propelled itself into space its engines shut off for a period of weightlessness before returning home

Once it reaches 50,000 feet (15,240 metres) the carrier plane releases SpaceShipTwo, a reusable, winged spacecraft designed to carry six passengers and two pilots into space.

Virgin Galactic has named its first SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity – the craft that the company has used in all of its test flights – though the firm is expected to build more in future.

Once released from WhiteKnightTwo, SpaceShipTwo’s rocket motor engages ‘within seconds’, according to Virgin Galactic.

The craft will then fly approximately three and a half times the speed of sound (2,600mph/4,300kph) into suborbital space, reaching up to 360,890ft (110,000 metres) above the Earth’s surface.

WhiteKnightTwo (artist’s impression) is a custom-built, four-engine, dual-fuselage jet aircraft, designed to carry SpaceShipTwo up to an altitude of around 50,000 feet (15,240 metres)

This altitude is defined as beyond the edge of outer space by Nasa.

After the rocket motor has fired for around a minute, the pilots will shut it down, and passengers can then take off their seatbelts to experience weightlessness for several minutes.

The pilots will manoeuvre the spaceship to give the best possible views of Earth and space while raising the vehicle’s wings to its ‘feathered’ re-entry configuration, which decelerates the craft and stabilises its descent.

As gravity pulls the spaceship back towards the Earth’s upper atmosphere, astronauts will return to their seats ready to return to our planet.

At around 50,000 feet (15,240 metres), after re-entry, the pilot will return the spaceship’s wings to their normal configuration, ready to glide back to Earth for a smooth runway landing. 

Once it reaches 50,000 feet (15,240 metres) the carrier plane releases SpaceShipTwo, a reusable, winged spacecraft designed to carry six passengers and two pilots into space. Virgin Galactic has named its first SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity (pictured) – the craft that the company has used in all of its test flights – though the firm is expected to produce more in future

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