Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity passenger rocket plane carrying Richard Branson and his crew begins its ascent to the edge of space over Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, USA, July 11, 2021 in a still image from a video.
Virgo Galactic | via Reuters
Virgin Galactic delivered its second quarter results after the market closed on Thursday and announced that it would reopen ticket sales, with prices starting at $ 450,000 per seat.
“We have a targeted product offering to meet the diverse ways people want to share this experience of private astronaut flights,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, during the company’s second quarter conference call.
The company also announced that its next space test will be targeted from Spaceport America in New Mexico in late September and will carry members of the Italian Air Force.
Virgin Galactic’s shares rose 5% in after-hours trading from a closing price of $ 31.53.
Virgin Galactic reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $ 56 million in the second quarter, just above the loss of $ 55.9 million in the previous quarter. It generated $ 571,000 in revenue for the second quarter that came from the scientific research experiments on board its space test in May.
The company flew two space tests during the quarter, the first of which made its debut from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The second flight took founder Richard Branson and three other mission specialists to test the vehicle’s cabin.
The company’s management had previously announced that it would fly two more tests of the VSS Unity spacecraft, the first carrying four more “mission specialists” and the second flying members of the Italian Air Force. Branson had announced after his space flight that the former CEO of Virgin Galactic, George Whitesides, would take part in the next space test of the company, as CNBC reported last month. But that plan seems to have changed with Italian space travel, dubbed the Unity 23 flight, which is now slated to be the next.
Virgin Galactic will then suspend space operations for a previously announced “improvement period” before launching its Unity 24 space flight test. With the Unity 25 flight, Virgin Galactic expects to begin commercial services on its first non-development flight.
Colglazier said during the call for shareholders that the improvement phase, which will focus on renovating and strengthening its VMS Eve jet-powered carrier aircraft, will last until mid-2022 according to Unity 23 in September. This is pushing back the start of the company’s commercial service as Virgin Galactic was aiming for its first consumer spaceflight in early 2022.
A Virgin Galactic spokesman told CNBC that the Unity 25 mission is targeting the end of the third quarter of 2022.
Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity passenger rocket plane carrying billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and his crew lands after reaching the edge of space over Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the United States, July 11, 2021.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
As a final step in the development of its vehicle, the space tourism company conducts the space tests. The company has approximately 600 reservations for tickets for future flights, with the majority of these tickets selling between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000 apiece.
Virgin Galactic will offer three different sales offers starting at $ 450,000 per seat for space tourists: single seat purchase, seat packages for couples, friends or family, or the option to book entire flights. The company noted that sales will first prioritize Virgin Galactic’s “significant early handraiser list” with a “subsequent priority list” opening to new customers.
Its VSS Unity spacecraft was designed for six passengers – in addition to two pilots – but the vehicle is now equipped for four passengers, with Virgin Galactic confirming that the Branson spaceflight was a “fully manned” launch.
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