Virgin Galactic Sells 100 Tickets for Its Commercial Space Flight Program

A seat on Virgin’s space flight costs a cool $450,000, which might be the cheapest option on the market.
Written by Jeremy Porr
November 10, 2021Updated: November 10, 2021
A seat on Virgin’s space flight costs a cool $450,000, which might be the cheapest option on the market.
PHOTO: VIRGIN GALACTIC

Virgin Galactic has sold around 100 tickets for its commercial space flight program since flying its founder, Richard Branson, to infinity and beyond last summer. The company announced in a Q3 earnings call on Monday that it expects to begin commercial flights by the end of next year.

“Demand for space travel is strong, and we've been selling seats ahead of the pace we had planned. This demonstrates the incredible market for our product and appreciation for the value of the unique experience we offer,” Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said in a statement. “It’s a pivotal time for [us] as we transition from a prototyping space innovator to the global, scaled, commercial operation we are becoming.”

Virgin is looking to cash in on the hype of its test mission in July which saw Branson beat out former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in their race to space. Bezos broke through Earth’s atmosphere a few weeks later by way of his own space venture, Blue Origin. 

Bezos (and his cowboy hat) made it by way of a completely automated space capsule, the New Shepard. Branson’s SpaceShipTwo mission on the other hand was pilot-operated. But, flight control isn’t the only thing differentiating the two billionaire’s space ventures.

A seat on Virgin’s space flight costs $450,000, which might be the cheapest option on the market. The cost of a ticket for Blue Origin’s suborbital spin is still unknown but is expected to be substantially higher. A seat on Blue Origin’s first commercial space flight went for a whopping $28 million during an online auction back in June

Over the next year, Virgin plans to set out a clear roadmap for increasing the durability, reliability and predictability of its vehicles in preparation for commercial service. The nearly 700 starry-eyed travelers in Virgin’s customer pool will have to be patient as the company continues to refine its travel technology. In October, Virgin entered into a lease agreement for a new operations center where its next generation of vehicles will be designed and engineered.  

Headquartered in New Mexico, Virgin has a substantial presence in SoCal. Most of the company’s employees are spread out across Los Angeles and Bakersfield, where Virgin is now hiring. Four SoCal-based tech positions are currently up for grabs along with a slew of remote roles, spanning multiple departments.

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