Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane isn’t the only thing that rockets skyward as part of the company’s space tourism experience. The cost of a seat on the aircraft has gone the same way, too.
During its latest quarterly financial report announced on Thursday, August 5, the company said the cost of a seat on its space plane will now cost $450,000, a big increase on the $250,000 some 600 people paid during the first phase of ticket sales that ran until 2014.
Last month Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson demonstrated what its high-paying passengers will get for their money when he took the company’s first fully crewed ride to close to the Kármán line, the boundary 62 miles above Earth that’s generally accepted as marking the edge of space. The trip includes being released from a carrier plane at 50,000 feet, a brief rocket ride, incredible views of Earth, a few minutes of weightlessness, and a gentle glide home.
Virgin Galactic said three types of ticketing are available: A single seat for $450,000; a multi-seat couples/friends/family package; and a full-flight buy-out that takes all six seats. Prices for the last two options are yet to be revealed.
Moneyed folks who drop big bucks on a seat now, though, will have a long wait before they can climb aboard VSS Unity. That’s because Virgin Galactic first has to serve not only the 600 people already waiting in line, but also another 1,000 customers who recently paid a $1,000 deposit for the space tourism experience. On top of that, the company’s commercial space tourism experience isn’t likely to get under way until the second of 2022 at the earliest.
The company also revealed that its next rocket-powered spaceflight, Unity 23, is scheduled for late September from Spaceport America in New Mexico, the same location where Branson’s recent flight started and finished. The flight is will carry members of the Italian Air Force as well as several research payloads.
If you’re up for a trip to the edge of space but the asking price is somewhat out of range, then you could put your name in the hat for a raffle offering two free seats aboard Unity as the top prize. All you have to do is make a charitable donation and you’ll be in with a chance.
Virgin Galactic announced a net loss of $94 million for its most recent quarter, compared to a $72 million loss for the same period a year earlier. Robust ticket sales will be vital in the coming years to ensure the viability of its space tourism business.