After Virgin Galactic’s first successful fully crewed flight into space, the company has now announced it will be increasing the price of tickets for its ‘suborbital joy rides’ from US$250,000 to US$450,000. Jenny Southan reports
With ticket sales now open, the price has almost doubled from what people paid between 2005 and 2014, but with proof that Virgin Galactic trips into space are safe for tourists, Globetrender isn’t surprised.
Founder Richard Branson was one of six crew to be on board the suborbital space flight in July, which was Virgin Galactic’s 22nd test flight. The live-streamed mission achieved an altitude of 53.5 miles and granted its passengers a few minutes of glorious weightlessness, along with incredible views of planet Earth.
On August 6, 2021, Virgin Galactic reopened ticket sales. CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement: “Leveraging the surge in consumer interest following the Unity 22 flight, we are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today.
“As we endeavour 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.” The next Virgin Galactic test flight will be in September and will involve members of the Italian Air Force. After one additional test flight, Colglazier said the first commercial flights will take place in the third quarter of 2022.
Customers will be able to buy a single seat for US$450,000, as well as multi-seats for couples, friends or family, or a full-flight buy-out (four to six seats – yet to be confirmed).
For those who aren’t millionaires, two free seats on an early flight can be won in a prize draw, with registration open until September 1. Winners will also get a tour of Spaceport America in New Mexico with Richard Branson.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Colglazier also said that he wants to operate more than one tourist flight a day into space, and from multiple spaceports around the world (Puglia in Italy and Cornwall in the UK have been tipped in the past).
He said: “At every spaceport we’re going to target about 400 flights a year. I’m expecting high single-digit numbers to low double-digit numbers of spaceships [at each site] in order to kind of reach numbers like that.”
According to the BBC, competing company Blue Origin is expected to sell tickets for between US$200,000 and US$300,000.
The Earth’s richest man and founder of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, briefly left the planet on a Blue Origin flight into space on July 20, 2021, the 52nd anniversary of the first moon landing.