Virgin Galactic sells tickets to space

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Prices for a trip to the edge of space and back start at $450,000 for a single seat

Richard Branson’s spaceflight venture Virgin Galactic announced on Tuesday it will open ticket sales to the general public on February 16, with a $150,000 deposit required.

Tickets will run interested customers $450,000 each, as the company revealed last year, with three different sales offerings. These include a single seat purchase, packaged seats for couples, friends or family, or opportunities to book entire flights. According to the company, $25,000 of the deposit is not refundable.

“We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year,” Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

Virgin Galactic has had about 600 reservations for tickets on future flights since the initial ticketing round, which began roughly a decade ago. Those tickets were priced between $200,000 and $250,000 each. The list is believed to include celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Brad Pitt.

The company reopened ticket sales at the $450,000 price in August and had sold about 100 additional seats as of November. Virgin Galactic says it aims to launch as many as 400 flights per year, carrying up to six passengers and two pilots each, departing from and landing at the Spaceport America home base in New Mexico.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had grounded Branson’s spaceflight firm after it learned that the July flight that carried the firm’s boss had deviated from its designated course. In September, Virgin Galactic was cleared to return to flight after the FAA completed its investigation.

The company’s shares rose 10% in premarket trading on Tuesday from their previous close of $8.14.

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