Flying into space through Virgin Galactic will be more expensive than expected, as the company announced the official price of the tickets, which will amount to $ 450,000, that is, an increase of $ 200,000 to the cost that the company owned by Richard Branson sold his first flights to about 600 people who booked them.
This information was released in its earnings report for the second quarter of the year. It was also mentioned that individual tickets, packages for couples, friends, family, or even flights would be offered to complete the entire crew.
“We are pleased to announce the reopening of sales starting today,” said Michael Colglazier, who also noted that those on the waiting list would be prioritized to expand to more people “a whole new industry and experience.”
The sale of tickets by Virgin Galactic was suspended in 2014 after an accident in the middle of a test flight, which experts and even the company itself described as “fatal.” However, the decision to retake it came after the success of Branson’s trip.
The Unity 22 mission was carried out on July 11 aboard a supersonic space plane, developed by Virgin Galactic, which bore the name of VSS Unity. During that flight, Branson was accompanied by two pilots and three passengers, who reached a height of 86 kilometers, experienced zero gravity, and landed on a runway at Spaceport America Air Force Base.
Inside the spacecraft, the passengers experienced up to three G’s of force from the burst of extreme acceleration and admired the coverage of the Earth; however, it is essential to mention that they did not go out of orbit.
That was the first step in the aerospace industry to inaugurate space tourism. “We are here to make space very accessible to all and impact the new generation of dreamers,” Branson said after his flight.
Weeks later, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos also made his trip into space aboard the New Shepard rocket, a six-story-tall rocket with a capsule that accelerated into space and reached little more than 100 km of altitude, where they stayed for 11 minutes.
Given these advances in the industry, Virgin Galactic anticipated that its next flight will be next September and will carry members of the Italian Air Force, who paid their ticket at the initial price.
Subsequently, “improvements” will be made to the carrier aircraft to make one more trip with a whole crew. Still, Colglazier specified that the first commercial flight of private astronauts would take place “at the end of the third quarter of 2022,” said the executive.
“Our goal is to offer near-daily space flights and not just from New Mexico, but various locations around the world,” said Doug Ahrens, Virgin Galactic’s chief financial officer. He also noted that the company would seek to launch 400 flights a year in the long term.
Among those who have already set aside a place to travel aboard the Virgin Galactic plane are celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Elon Musk, whose aerospace company, SpaceX, is scheduled to launch its own later this year aboard the Crew spacecraft. Dragon is expected to reach an altitude of 540 km and remain in orbit for three days.