LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Following a successful first fully-crewed flight to suborbital space, Virgin Galactic says it’s ready to reopen ticket sales to customers for nearly a half-million dollars. The commercial spaceline announced Friday tickets onboard the future service will now be priced at $450,000 per seat, a $200,000 increase from their initial price set more than a decade ago.
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The announcement came as part of Virgin Galactic’s second quarterly earnings report published Thursday. The space tourism company also announced its targeting another fully-crewed test flight of the VSS Unity next month.
According to Virgin Galactic’s news release, the VSS Unity’s next flight, Unity 23, will occur in late September from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The company says the flight will be “a revenue-generating flight with the Italian Air Force.”
Virgin Galactic says it still has roughly 600 future “astronauts” signed up to take part in future space flights aboard the spaceline. The reopening of ticket sales is expected to begin today, Thursday, August 5, 2021.
Ticket sales have been suspended for nearly seven years following the crash of Virgin Galactic’s first spaceship during a test flight over Mojave, California. The VSS Enterprise broke apart during a rocket-powered test in October 2014, killing one pilot and seriously injuring a co-pilot. Federal investigators eventually determined the crash happened when one of the pilots on board that flight unlocked the spaceplane’s feathering system too early during flight, causing the spacecraft to break apart.
Virgin Galactic says it is still expecting to begin regularly carrying paying passengers on board commercial flights to space in 2022. The company has not announced any further timeframe on when the first flights could occur.