Virgin Galactic spaceflight tickets to start at $450,000

MOJAVE, Calif. — Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. has reopened ticket sales for its space flights, with seats starting at $450,000.

The Mojave, California-based company founded by billionaire Richard Branson confirmed Thursday that priority will be given to those people who have already expressed interest in buying a ticket, and purchase options will range from single seats to six-seat cabin blocks, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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“We expect many consumers will want to fly with friends or family, and we will customize the experience to meet their individual preferences,” Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Michael Colglazier told investors Thursday.

In addition, Virgin Galactic said it plans to charge the equivalent of $600,000 a seat for research and professional-astronaut missions, the Journal reported.

The sale comes after Virgin Galactic completed its first fully crewed flight to the edge of space in July. The company previously sold about 600 tickets at $250,000 per seat but halted sales in 2014 following a fatal accident, BBC News reported.

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“Leveraging the surge in consumer interest following the Unity 22 flight, we are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier told the news outlet.

“As we endeavour to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience,” he added.

Analysts have estimated the space tourism industry could generate nearly $4 billion in annual sales by 2030, the Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is expected to sell space flights for between $200,000 and $300,000, while Space X piloted the first crewed test flight of its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station last year, BBC News reported.

Virgin Galactic’s next spaceflight, Unity 23, is slated to launch in late September from Spaceport America in New Mexico, the news outlet reported.