Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has reopened ticket sales for spaceflight with its SpaceShipTwo spaceplane, the space tourism company announced.
The initial price is 450 thousand dollars (one million riyals), which is a significant increase compared to the price of 200 thousand dollars (750,000 riyals), which the company has been talking about for years, before closing sales.
The ticket’s reopening follows Branson’s successful July trip to the edge of space aboard the SpaceShipTwo.
It is Virgin Galactic’s flagship space tourism vehicle that can carry four passengers at an altitude of about 53 miles for a few minutes of weightlessness.
That mission, called Unity 22, was a major test of the missile plane before Virgin Galactic begins flying with individual customers in late 2022.
“By capitalizing on the increase in consumer interest following the Unity 22 flight, we are pleased to announce the reopening of sales,” the company’s CEO said in a statement.
He added, “As we strive to bring the wonders of space to a large population of the world, we are thrilled to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience.”
Ticket sales to individual customers have been closed since a fatal accident in 2014 during a test flight. After that incident, Branson pledged to ride SpaceShipTwo to demonstrate confidence in the aircraft’s safety before it even started flying with paying customers.
After its successful July 11 mission, the company is targeting late September for its first revenue-generating mission. That mission, Unity 23, carries research payloads and three members of the Italian Air Force.
The company said missions like the Italian Air Force cost $600,000 per seat.
Customers looking to pay $450,000 for a seat must line up in a long line.
The company said it has nearly 600 ticket holders who have to travel first. And that close to 1,000 potential customers who have made $1,000 in deposits are next.
And with new ticket sales, Virgin Galactic is offering three ways to ride within the SpaceShipTwo: single seat, multi-seat or full-flight.
The company said: Sales are initially opened to the company’s important list of early pioneers. With priority given to the astronaut community, who are given the first opportunity to reserve their place in space. A follow-up priority list is opened for customers interested in booking future spaceflights.