The space tourism company Virgin Galactic, which offers future customers a trip of a few minutes in space, announced Thursday reselling tickets.
Starting price ?
450,000 dollars (380,000 euros).
The company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, who himself boarded a test flight in July, had already sold around 600 tickets between 2005 and 2014. At the time, the price range was 200,000. to $ 250,000 (from 170,000 to 212,000 euros).
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Virgin Galactic had warned that when tickets went on sale again, they would be more expensive.
"Prices for these offerings will start at $ 450,000 per seat," Virgin Galactic said in a statement released in conjunction with its quarterly results.
The company will offer three options: reserve a single seat, a bundle of several seats for couples, friends or family members, or finally purchase all seats on the ship.
The latter was designed to accommodate, in addition to the two pilots, up to six passengers, but the model used at the moment only carries four.
Priority to people already on the waiting list
"Sales will initially be open to the list of those who show up very early," the company said.
These people already on the waiting list will "have priority" to buy their ticket.
A new waiting list will be "soon" open and available on the company's website, also promised Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, during a conference call.
Virgin Galactic uses a huge carrier plane (VMS Eve), which takes off from a conventional runway, then drops a spaceship (VSS Unity) resembling a large private jet aloft.
This ignites its engine until it exceeds 80 km of altitude, then descends while gliding.
Passengers can break away and experiment for a few minutes in zero gravity.
The boss of the company also detailed the schedule of future flights: a new test flight, focusing on the scientific research offer, is scheduled for the end of September, with the Italian Air Force.
After a period of "improvements" on the carrier aircraft, another flight will be scheduled with a full crew.
Objective: an almost daily cadence
Finally, the first commercial flight of private astronauts must take place "at the end of the third quarter" 2022, specified Michael Colglazier.
So far, the start of regular commercial operations had been announced for early 2022.
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“Our long-term goal is to provide an almost daily cadence of space flights, not just from New Mexico, but from many locations around the world,” said Doug Ahrens, CFO of Virgin Galactic. The company is ultimately targeting 400 flights per year per space base.