Virgin Galactic’s Stock Jumps 28% After Opening Sales for Flight Tickets

© AP Photo / Richard DrewIn this Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 file photo, Richard Branson, right, founder of Virgin Galactic, and company executives gather for photos outside the New York Stock Exchange before his company's IPO
In this Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 file photo, Richard Branson, right, founder of Virgin Galactic, and company executives gather for photos outside the New York Stock Exchange before his company's IPO - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2022
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Virgin Galactic, the American space tourism company founded by Richard Branson, is opening ticket sales to the public for almost half a million dollars each.
Virgin Galactic ticket prices start at $450,000 each, while requiring a deposit of $150,000. The two different packages offered are for couples and family members, or the option to book the entire flight, too. Once a deposit is paid, customers will not be able to receive all of their $150,000 in a refund, as Virgin has said $25,000 is not refundable, almost equal to the cost of one year at a public college in the States.
The introduction of Virgin’s spaceflight sales on Wednesday spiked their shares up 28%. The last high they hit was in June 2021 when their share was $57.51, a few weeks before Branson first took flight in July of the same year. In the past 12 months, their stocks have dropped 85%, as the company had to delay spaceflights to the public until 2022.
The share price of Virgin Galactic was $10.86 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Investors’ minds have been put at ease, and Virgin Galactic’s management has an upbeat attitude for the future.
“At Virgin Galactic, we believe that space is transformational,” said CEO Michael Colglazier in the company’s news release. “We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year, providing an incredibly strong foundation as we begin regular operations and scale our fleet.”
What does $450,000 with Virgin Galactic get you, exactly? The company says buyers will receive a 90-minute ride to the edge of space including the “signature air launch and Mach-3 boost to space,” and passengers will be weightless for “several minutes” while enjoying views of Earth in space.
So far, Virgin Galactic has received 600 reservations in the past decade, with an additional 100 tickets sold by November. Elon Musk is among those who have made a reservation.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, a competitor of Virgin Galactic, has yet to decide on a final price for their own spaceflight tickets.
Bezos has said that the company is nearing $100 million in their sales so far, but hasn’t said how many ticket holders that sum includes. As for flight prices on New Shepard, the reusable suborbital rocket that launches out of Texas, prices for flights remain unknown.
“We don’t know quite yet” when Blue Origin will publicly announce a price, Mr. Bezos told reporters in July after his flight to space. “Right now we’re doing really well with private sales.”
As for the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, created by Elon Musk’s company and subsequently purchased by Axiom Space, flight costs amount to a hefty sum of $55 million. Three ticket purchasers will fly with Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former NASA astronaut who currently works for Axiom, to the International Space Station, which has received the green light from NASA.
Axiom’s flight to the ISS is scheduled for March 30, 2022. The ticket purchasers include real-estate entrepreneur Larry Connor, Canadian businessman Mark Pathy, and Israeli investor Eytan Stibbe. The trip to space will last for about 10 days, and the high-paying customers are required to physically train for about six months in preparation for the flight.
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