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Virgin Galactic sold about 100 space tickets, to start commercial services by 2022

The first seat sold for $28 million (approximately Rs. 206 crores) in an online auction, but the buyer cancelled their travel.

Virgin Galactic sold about 100 space tickets to start commercial services by 2022 gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Nov 9, 2021, 12:28 PM IST
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According to financial numbers disclosed Monday, Virgin Galactic has sold about 100 tickets since flying its founder Richard Branson to space last summer, with commercial services expected to begin by the end of 2022. The current ticket is $450,000 (about Rs. 3.32 crores) per seat, significantly above the $200,000-$250,000 (approximately Rs. 1.47 crore - Rs. 1.84 crore) paid by 600 clients between 2005 and 2014. According to an AFP representative, the firm has already sold 700 tickets in total.

In a statement, CEO Michael Colglazier stated, they are starting their fleet improvement period with a defined path for strengthening the longevity, dependability, and predictability of our cars in readiness for commercial operation next year. Virgin Galactic, founded in 2004, is looking to capitalise on the success of a high-profile test voyage in July, which saw Branson beat Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos by a couple of days in their billionaire space race. However, the corporation, which operates out of Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert, has seen problems since then.

Also Read | Huge setback for Virgin Galactic as US grounds its flights over pending mishap probe

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) momentarily halted it in September after discovering that the July flight diverted from its allotted airspace. Virgin Galactic did not disclose the "mishap" as required. Virgin said in October that it would postpone a mission with members of the Italian Air Force for many months after lab testing found that some materials used in its vehicles may have gone below necessary strength limits, necessitating additional investigation. The firm is currently working on improving its automobiles.

Unlike its primary competitors in the burgeoning space tourism business, Blue Origin and SpaceX, Virgin Galactic deploys a giant carrier aircraft that takes off horizontally, achieves height, and drops a rocket-powered spaceplane that subsequently soars into space. Virgin Galactic is also compelled to be more transparent about its finances. The cost of seats on Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard rocket, which can make ten-minute trips into space and back, is unclear, although it is expected to be far more.

Also Read | Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to sell tickets to space starting at $450,000

The first seat sold for $28 million (approximately Rs. 206 crores) in an online auction, but the buyer cancelled their travel. Seats on SpaceX's Crew Dragon, which launches atop a massive Falcon 9 rocket and is also contracted by NASA to transport men to the International Space Station, are expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. Elon Musk's business sent four private tourists on a three-day orbital voyage in September, financed by internet payments tycoon Jared Isaacman.

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