Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Virgin Galactic seeks space tourism boost with market launch

Virgin Galactic seeks space tourism boost with market launch

Mr Palihapitiya will become chairman of the board and has pledged to invest an additional 100 million USA dollars (£80.3 million) as part of the transaction.

The total value of the merger is US$1.5 billion (RM6.2 billion), the parties said.

Hundreds of people are lined up to ride a short high-speed trip aboard a Virgin Galactic space plane and have agreed to pay $200,000 to $250,000 per seat.

Virgin Galactic expects to use the proceeds from the IPO and Social Capital to finance the business until its spaceships can fulfill its objective and generate a profit.

Branson has said he plans to be the first passenger on SpaceShipTwo's first commercial flight in mid-2019.

The deal was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The capital injection from the special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, will enable British billionaire Branson to fund Virgin Galactic until its spaceships are able to commercially operate and become profitable, the paper added.

Boeing loses big order for 737 Max aircraft
Flyeadeal is a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Airlines and flies to a range of domestic destinations across the kingdom. The cancellation itself is a small dent in Boeing's backlog for the bestselling 737, including the Max version.

Going public will help Virgin Galactic raise money needed to compete against rivals such as Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX in the billionaire's space race.

"Having got to know Chamath and Adam over the past few months, I have no doubt that we will be better together and am delighted they are becoming such important partners on our unbelievable journey".

Branson said in February he'd planned to fly into space himself aboard one of his company's vehicles to mark this year's 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch in July, but as we're in July, this remains to be seen whether they will meet the set date.

Virgin Galactic's path to profitability isn't as long as many would assume, Palihapitiya said, as the company is projected to become profitable on an annual basis by August 2021 with commercial operations starting in less than a year.

"Together we will make our dreams reality".

Branson has already invested more than US$1 billion in the project since 2004, while a similar proposed Saudi capital injection was suspended previous year following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Virgin Galactic conducted its latest test flight in February and its spacecraft reached an altitude of more than 55 miles, which the USA defines as space.

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