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Virgin Galactic: Double the demand for space travel

Image copyright Getty Images Virgin Galactic said it will release more tickets for flights into space as demand doubles. The company launched its One Small Step qualification programme on Wednesday which requires a $1,000 (£769) deposit. Sir Richard Branson’s space firm said it had already received almost 8,000 registrations of interest for future flights.The news…

Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo takes off for a suborbital test flightImage copyright
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Virgin Galactic said it will release more tickets for flights into space as demand doubles.

The company launched its One Small Step qualification programme on Wednesday which requires a $1,000 (£769) deposit.

Sir Richard Branson’s space firm said it had already received almost 8,000 registrations of interest for future flights.

The news comes as Virgin Galactic’s latest company results show a net loss of $73m for the last quarter.

The California-based space venture said customers who place a deposit will reserve a spot for when more seats become available.

Virgin Galactic said prices and timing for its next flight are not available yet. Tickets for its inaugural commercial flights sold for around $250,000 per seat.

Virgin Galactic has already booked more than 600 reservations as it prepares for its first commercial flights into space, scheduled for later this year.

Those to have already purchased tickets include celebrities Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio. Sir Richard Branson has said he will be on the first trip.

Virgin Galactic said it had received 7,957 registrations of interest in space flights as of 23 February – more than double the amount it recorded at the end of September 2019, when reservations for the first trip became available.

“We have been greatly encouraged by the ongoing and increasing demand seen from around the world for personal spaceflight,” said Stephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Director. Virgin Galactic saw its losses widen in the fourth quarter (October to December) compared with a $46m loss in the same period in 2018.

Virgin Galactic is the only publicly-listed space tourism group, having floated on the New York stock exchange last October. Its share price fell almost 6% in after-hours trading.

The company, along with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, have all been in a race to send tourists into orbit.

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