Virgin Galactic Is Selling $450,000 Space Tickets

Virgin Galactic, the billionaire Richard Branson’s private space tourism company, said Thursday evening that ticket sales will be reopened.

Those who have $450,000 to spare and want to spend a few minutes at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere will soon be able to do so.

The news follows a successful test flight last month, during which Branson and a crew traveled to the edge of space on a mission named Unity 22.

“We are thrilled to announce the reopening of sales effective today, beginning with our Spacefarer community,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement released Thursday alongside the company’s second-quarter earnings. “We are thrilled to open the door to a whole new sector and consumer experience as we strive to convey the wonder of space to a large global population.”

Customers that have already put down a refundable deposit to be first in line to purchase tickets are referred to as the “Spacefarer community.” For the private astronaut market, the firm plans to provide three customer options: a single-seat, a multi-seat package for couples or friends, and a full-flight buyout. When the company first announced it was selling space tickets a few years ago, the price was $250,000.

Many organizations — but not all — identify the Karman line (62 miles above Earth) as the border between the planet’s atmosphere and space, and Branson’s suborbital flight on July 11 drew criticism for extending the concept of space.

Despite this, a film from the mission showed Branson and his team enjoying a few minutes of microgravity, and the entire crew was awarded astronaut wings during a press conference following their return.

Branson served as a mission specialist on the well-publicized test flight, tasked with evaluating the client experience.

“I believe, like most kids, I’ve dreamed about this moment since I was a kid,” Branson said after landing. “Honestly, nothing can prepare you for the vista of Earth from space.” “It’s truly awe-inspiring. I’m simply taking it all in at the moment. It’s absolutely unbelievable.”

Amazon entrepreneur Jeff Bezos conducted a comparable trip via his own space-faring business Blue Origin just nine days after Branson’s voyage. Many regarded the back-to-back billionaire spaceflights as heralding the start of a new age in space tourism, pushed by a nascent commercial space sector controlled by the ultra-rich.

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