On Tuesday, space tourism company Virgin Galactic announced that trip ticket sales will open to the public for the first time on Wednesday. Tickets will cost $450,000, with a deposit of $150,000 required.

“At Virgin Galactic, we believe that space is transformational,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier in a statement. “We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year, providing an incredibly strong foundation as we begin regular operations and scale our fleet.”

Virgin Galactic shares jumped 28% in trading, from their previous close of $8.14. The stock had dropped 85% in the past 12 months due to a previous delay of commercial space flights. 

“For much of the last decade, Virgin Galactic has had about 600 reservations for tickets on future flights, with those tickets sold largely between $200,000 and $250,000 each,” CNBC reported. “In August, the company opened ticket sales at the $450,000 price to those who had expressed interest. It had sold about 100 additional tickets as of November.”

“The spaceflight itself is a 90-minute journey including a signature air launch and Mach-3 boost to space,” Virgin explained. “The spaceship gracefully flips while astronauts enjoy several minutes of out-of-seat weightlessness and breath-taking views of Earth from the spaceship’s 17 windows.”

“Upon return from this transformational experience, astronauts will begin a meaningful journey to create a positive impact with the perspective that can only come from seeing our beautiful planet from space,” Virgin added.

In the early days of the billionaire “space race,” Virgin Galactic announced in July 2021 that it would conduct its first full crew test flight into space just days before Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was set to do the same.

“Virgin Galactic today announced that the flight window for the next rocket-powered test flight of its SpaceShipTwo Unity opens July 11, pending weather and technical checks,” the company announced in a press release. “The ‘Unity 22’ mission will be the twenty-second flight test for VSS Unity and the Company’s fourth crewed spaceflight. It will also be the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including the Company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, who will be testing the private astronaut experience.”

“I was once a child with a dream looking up to the stars. Now I’m an adult in a spaceship looking down to our beautiful Earth,” Branson said in a video from space during the successful test flight last year.

“We’re here to make space more accessible to all,” he said. “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, there it is. More than half a century since the world rejoiced when humans first achieved spaceflight, Richard Branson fulfills his dream of experiencing space travel,” said comedian Stephen Colbert, who hosted coverage on Virgin’s website.

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