Virgin Galactic, under the leadership of Sir Richard Branson, has announced plans to launch its inaugural commercial flight by the end of this month.
Virgin Galactic has set a launch window for its inaugural commercial flight, named Galactic 01, between June 27 and June 30.
Virgin Galactic shares witnessed a remarkable surge of more than 40% in extended New York trading subsequent to the investor announcement.
Upon revealing the news to investors, Virgin Galactic witnessed a significant surge of over 40% in their shares during extended New York trading.
In May, Virgin Orbit, a separate space company owned by the UK billionaire, ceased operations following a mission failure that occurred months earlier.
Virgin Galactic revealed that its first flight will have a scientific research objective, carrying a team of three crew members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy. The primary focus of the mission is to conduct microgravity research.
Virgin Galactic has revealed that its second commercial spaceflight is scheduled for early August, with plans to subsequently conduct monthly spaceflights.
This achievement signifies a significant milestone for Virgin Galactic, a company that has navigated through a series of accidents and technical hurdles over its 19-year history.
Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane, named Unity, returned to action last month following a hiatus of nearly two years.
With two pilots and four passengers on board, the vehicle soared to great heights above the New Mexico desert in the US, reaching the edge of space, and gracefully glided back down to Earth.
This flight was hailed as the vehicle’s ultimate test before the highly anticipated launch of the company’s inaugural commercial service.
Over 800 tickets have been sold by Virgin Galactic to individuals seeking to embark on a journey over 80 kilometers (260,000 feet) above Earth.
These flights are carefully crafted to provide passengers with awe-inspiring views from space at the peak of their ascent, granting them a few precious minutes to relish the sensation of weightlessness. The cost per person for these extraordinary experiences is $450,000 (£352,170).
While Virgin Galactic remains dedicated to space tourism, Sir Richard Branson also nurtures ambitions of launching satellites through his rocket company, Virgin Orbit.
Unfortunately, Virgin Orbit had to suspend operations in May following the failure of a mission that was anticipated to be a significant milestone for UK space exploration.
Earlier this year, the company, initially established for satellite launches, temporarily halted operations in an effort to enhance its financial standing.
As part of its current strategy, Virgin Orbit has recently divested several assets, including its converted jet Cosmic Girl, as well as a majority of its headquarters in California.
It has been a challenging time for Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin boss. In an interview with the BBC in May, he disclosed that he had suffered personal losses of approximately £1.5 billion (£1.9 billion) during the pandemic due to the impact on his airline and leisure ventures caused by lockdowns.
Reflecting on the difficult circumstances, Sir Richard Branson acknowledged, “There was a time when I thought we were going to lose everything.” Nonetheless, he has managed to preserve his billionaire status, with a net worth of £2.4 billion as reported by the latest Sunday Times Rich List.
Source : bbc.com