10:01 AM PDT, August 10, 2021
For those who have always dreamed of becoming an astronaut, here’s your chance to snag a spot aboard a Virgin Galactic rocket starting at $450,000 per seat. The spaceflight company, which completed its first fully crewed flight last month with founder and billionaire Richard Branson on board, has reopened ticket sales Thursday for commercial flight, which they hope will begin toward the end of 2022.
“We are excited to announce today that we will immediately open ticket sales to our significant list of early hand raisers, prioritizing our spacefarer community who, as promised, will be given first opportunity to reserve their place to space,” CEO Michael Colgazier said in a statement.
The $450,000 starting price for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is hefty – and is about double what tickets were initially sold at between 2005 and 2014, when about 600 people paid between $200,000 and $250,000. Ticket sales then ended following a fatal crash that resulted in the death of co-pilot Michael Alsbury.
Virgin Galactic is also offering packages of multiple seats, including for couples, friends, or families, and full-flight buy-outs.
“As we endeavor to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience,” Colgazier said.
Virgin Galactic’s goal is to ultimately make possible commercial space travel and space tourism.
In July, Branson and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos were in a competition of billionaires to reach space first. Branson ultimately won when he travelled into outer space, as defined by beginning at 50 miles above the Earth, on July 11, and Bezos followed shortly after, crossing the Karman Line that marks the edge of space, just nine days later.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first private company to send astronauts to the International Space Station in May 2020. Despite having founded his own spacecraft company, the Tesla billionaire, however, has not yet been to space but has reportedly already put in a $10,000 deposit for a future seat aboard a Virgin Galactic Flight, Space.com reported.