Virgin Galactic Announces First Space Launch

Virgin Galactic announced it’s first space launch during a conference call today. CEO Michael Colglazier talked about his long-term goals for expanding space tourism and that means multiple spaceports. Virgin thinks it can rally $1 billion in annual revenue per location in the coming years, and that would represent a sizable boost. After SpaceX and Tesla made their launches this summer, it was only a matter of time before other companies tried to ramp up production. The defining characteristic of Virgin Galactic has been this focus on tourism since its inception. Anyone old enough to remember the idea first getting floated can attest to how far off it felt in the late 90s and early-Aughts. But, here in 2020, wider space travel is inching closer and closer by the year.

“The first chapter of Virgin Galactic has been to accomplish an incredibly difficult task, creating a spaceflight system that can fly humans to space,” Colglazier said during the call (via CNBC). “The next chapter of Virgin Galactic is to use this system to bring thousands and thousands of people to space and deliver our purpose of opening space to change the world for good. To reach this objective, we are embarking on a multi-year effort that will lead to flights not once a month, or even once a week – but targets flying 400 flights per year per spaceport.”

For those who don’t know, the Virigin Galactic crafts us jet-powered carrier aircraft to get their spaceships up high enough to launch. Then, the CEO added that his company is going to need a lot more “motherships” at each spaceport to get to a 400 flight per year mandate. That means Virgin is “in the early planning stage to develop and build a second carrier aircraft.”

He continued, “In order to now pivot to be able to supply the demand that we expect, we are going to have to ramp up manufacturing in that regard. But I think it will be on the order of a few motherships, many spaceships and ... a rocket motor for every flight as we go.”

How much are these tickets to space going to cost? Try a cool $400,000, according to notes to investors obtained by CNBC. Now, that is an increase from the 600 previously purchased ticked which were reserved around $200,000-$250,000 each. But, Virgin has not confirmed what the prices will be like when sales open up again. As demand increases, the price for a seat will only go up.

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Photo Credit: Algernon D'Ammassa/Sun-News