You can now book your $450,000 ticket to fly into space with Virgin Galactic
The fledgling spaceline Virgin Galactic announced it is now selling tickets for seats on its rocket ship to members of the general public who can afford a 90-minute jaunt into space.
Ticket are officially on sale to anyone who can afford one as of February 16. The cost is $450,000 per seat, a price tag the company had previously revealed last August just weeks after founder Sir Richard Branson had reached the edge of space in the Unity spacecraft. The spaceline, which is based in New Mexico, says a third of the cost of the ticket, $150,000, must be paid in an initial deposit ($25,000 of which is non-refundable), and the remaining balance due before the flight takes off.
A hefty price, for sure. But think of the points you'll accrue when you slap down your credit card to reserve your seat.
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If the sky-high price tag would keep your feet firmly planet on earth, there is a points and miles option. Anyone with 2 million Virgin Points can enter a prize draw to redeem those points for a trip with Virgin Galactic - its a three day trip including the two-hour space flight and at least five minutes of weightlessness.
You'll only need to redeem the points if you win the prize draw.
According to CNBC, Virgin Galactic has had about 600 reservations on the books from ticket sales going back several years, when a trip to suborbital space was being sold for about $200,000 to $250,000 per seat. The company actually sold about 100 tickets at the increased $450K price last summer. During Virgin Galactic's most recent earnings call in November, CEO Michael Colglazier said the company had been testing its sales process had sold about 100 seats at the new $450k price point. Its goal is to book 1,000 sales before commercial flights actually begin, which right now appears to be in October.
This marks an encouraging turnaround for the company, which saw its stock price jump by more than 30% on the news of ticket sales reopening. The Wall Street Journal says Virgin Galactic stock has lost 80% of its value in the past year after delays caused the optimism and public-relations buzz from Branson's flight to space on the air-powered Unity rocket to fade. Branson had won the "Billionaire Space Race" by beating Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to the launchpad and getting to space first. Companies like Virgin Galactic and Bezos' Blue Origin have both been trying to develop a viable business model around space tourism.
But there were also safety concerns after a story in the New Yorker revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration was investigating a red warning light that had gone off in the cockpit during Branson's flight. The FAA grounded all flights as it probed the incident, but eventually gave Virgin Galactic approval to resume operations.
Featured Image courtesy of VirginGalactic.com.