Space

Virgin Galactic launches new drive for would-be space tourists

Virgin Galactic launches new d...
VSS Unity first reached the edge of space in December 2018
VSS Unity first reached the edge of space in December 2018
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VSS Unity on a powered test flight
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VSS Unity on a powered test flight
VSS Unity first reached the edge of space in December 2018
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VSS Unity first reached the edge of space in December 2018

Virgin Galactic has announced a new program to drive reservations for flights on its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane. The One Small Step initiative isn't for the direct sale of tickets, but instead invites aspiring passengers put down a deposit of US$1000 to get to the front of the line when firm seat reservations become available.

Virgin Galactic stopped offering new ticket sales following the first suborbital flight by the spaceplane VSS Unity in December 2018. So far, the company has 600 firm reservations from customers in 60 countries for the 90-minute flights costing US$250,000, and has brought in US$80 million in deposits and US$120 million of potential revenue.

Now, in response to the 7957 online reservation registrations in the past 14 months, Virgin Galactic has announced a new tranche of seat reservations. Open to the general public from February 26, 2020, the One Small Step initiative is available through online registration and a fully refundable deposit of US$1,000. No price has been quoted for the new tickets, nor are there any details on when they will become available. It's also notable that the company posted a US$73 million loss in the last three months of 2019, so there may be a desire to boost the cash flow.

VSS Unity on a powered test flight
VSS Unity on a powered test flight

"We have been greatly encouraged by the ongoing and increasing demand seen from around the world for personal spaceflight," says Stephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Director. "One Small Step allows us to help qualify and build confidence in our direct sales pipeline, as well as to ensure that those who are most keen to make reservations are able to do so at the earliest opportunity."

Source: Virgin Galactic

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