Earlier today, Virgin Galactic announced that it might sell shares worth up to $500 million. This announcement comes shortly after the company completed its first crewed test flight into space ahead of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin with business magnate and billionaire founder Richard Branson on board.
The company’s shares surged 8 percent in premarket trading but following the announcement of the sale of shares, it fell 10 percent in early trading. The decision to sell shares comes on the heels of the company’s space trip. On Sunday, Virgin Galactic traveled more than 50 miles above the New Mexico desert on one of its rocket planes and safely returned in the craft’s first fully crewed test flight to space.
Jeff Bezos revealed plans to travel to space last month and he intends to do it with his brother. Although his company Blue Origin did not specify when this historical journey would be made, it said it would happen in July of this year, and in what is being described and popularized as the “billionaire space race”, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic seems to have won.
According to the Swiss investment bank UBS (UBSG.S), the potential value of the space tourism market reaching should reach $3 billion annually by 2030.
Virgin Galactic announced that commercial operations will begin by early next year and plans to go on at least two more space test flights before then. “We’re here to make space more accessible to all. Welcome to the dawn of a new space age”, the company’s founder; Richard Branson said after returning from the test flight. The company’s CEO; Michael Colglazier said that reservations priced at about $250,000 per ticket have already been booked for when it starts operating but Richard Branson mentioned that his ultimate aim is to bring the price down to about $40,000 per ticket as the Virgin Galactic ramps up service, achieving greater economies of scale.