- Virgin Galactic resumed ticket sales on Thursday, announcing prices starting at $US450,000 ($AU613,098).
- Customers will also be able to buy a package of multiple seats or rent out an entire rocket plane.
- Virgin Galactic aims to start flying tourists to the edge of space in 2022.
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Hot on the heels of its first successful fully-crewed flight in July, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has reopened ticket sales for future trips to the edge of space, the company said Thursday.
Seats start at $US450,000 ($AU613,098) apiece, up from the $US200,000 ($AU272,488)-$US250,000 ($AU340,610) the firm charged previously. Virgin Galactic said customers will be able to purchase a multi-seat package so they can fly with friends or family. There will also be the option to buy out a full flight.
A Virgin Galactic spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on pricing for the latter two options.
On a mission to transport paying tourists to suborbital space for nearly two decades, Virgin Galactic completed its inaugural fully-crewed flight in July when it launched its billionaire founder and three others 55 miles (89km) above Earth’s surface.
Unlike other private space companies, Virgin Galactic doesn’t launch rockets straight up from the ground. Instead, its spacecraft are flown roughly 50,000 feet (15,240.00m) up by a special jet. The vehicle then detaches before firing up its rocket boosters and starting a near-vertical ascent. Passengers experience a few minutes of weightlessness before the vehicle glides back to Earth for a runway landing.
Roughly 600 people have already purchased tickets worth $US200,000 ($AU272,488)-$US250,000 ($AU340,610), Virgin Galactic has said, and another 1,000 have placed deposits for future seats. Tourist flights are set to begin in 2022.
Virgin Galactic announced its second-quarter earnings on Thursday, posting a $US56 ($AU76) million adjusted loss. The company announced that its next test flight will take place in September.
Shares of Virgin Galactic spiked 11% in after-hours trading on Thursday.