Richard Branson’s space exploration company, Virgin Galactic reopened ticket sales for space flights on Thursday at a starting price of $450,000 per seat.
This is a significant increase from the $250,000 starter ticket price that the company had initially set for space flight reservations in July when Branson and a small flight crew jetted out to the edge of space for the first time.
The historical space expedition which happened on Sunday, July 11, 2021, came nine days before billionaire rival and space tourism enthusiast, Jeff Bezos made a similar tour to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard, in an equally historical flight that had on board, the world’s youngest and oldest persons to visit space.
Virgin Galactic’s CEO, Michael Colglazier told investors at an earnings call on Thursday that the flights will have three offerings: single-seat reservations beginning from $450,000, multi-seat reservations for families and friends, and an option to book all six seats on a flight for a modest premium. He also stated that seats for microgravity research and professional astronaut training will be priced at $600,000 each.
A waiting list of more than 600 people already exists, who purchased tickets at between $200,000 and $250,000 over the course of nearly a decade, CNN reports.
Aleanna Crane, Virgin Galactic’s vice president of communications also confirmed that about 1,000 people have deposited cash to join a list of “early hand-raisers.” The company plans to offer tickets first to this group along with those in their “Spacefarer Community” who have recently deposited $1,000.
Virgin Galactic shares rose 5% in extended trading on Thursday, Reuters reports. The company’s quarterly financial report which was also released on Thursday disclosed a net loss of more than $94 million. Virgin Galactic hopes to turn a series of losses encountered since it went public in 2019 into profits as commercial space flight operations commence in 2022.