Virgin Galactic has sold a further 100-odd seats to space on VSS Unity since re-opening bookings in August of this year.
Details of the additional sales were released in this week’s Q3 2021 Financial results ending 30 September 2021.
Sir Richard Branson’s space program reported robust sales, even at the significantly higher ticket price of US$450,000 – up from the original US$200,000-$250,000 cost that was offered between 2005-2014.
“Demand for space travel is strong, and we’ve been selling seats ahead of the pace we had planned,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic.
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Seats went back on sale in the weeks after Branson himself went into space on flight ‘Unity 22’ on 11 July.
“This demonstrates the incredible market for our product and appreciation for the value of the unique experience we offer. It’s a pivotal time for the Company as we transition from a prototyping space innovator to the global, scaled, commercial operation we are becoming,” Colglazier said.
Virgin Galactic said it had opened sales to its “Spacefarer community” – the group of early hand-raisers who had reserved the right to be first in line for tickets – with a target of 1,000 reservations prior to the launch of private astronaut commercial service.
“Approximately 700 of these 1,000 have been sold to date. Current pricing of $450,000 per seat have been well received,” the aerospace company said.
The financial update also reiterated that Virgin Galactic remains on track for the start of commercial operations in 12-months time – “for Q4 2022”.
Billionaire needs new brakes
Meanwhile, Branson is currently nursing numerous wounds after crashing his bicycle while descending a mountain in the British Virgin Islands this week.
The fit and healthy 71-year-old was participating in the Strive BVI (British Virgin Islands) multi-discipline challenge fundraising event when his brakes failed on a descent.
“I was navigating a steep corner, with a massive cliff drop to my left, a car coming up the hill, and my fellow Striver, Felix Stellmaszek, in front of me passing the car. I pulled on both of my brakes, but they didn’t respond. I was going faster and faster, with my options being to drop off the cliff, hit the car, or potentially run into Felix,” Branson detailed on his blog.
With his bike’s brakes unresponsive, Branson chose to crash into Stellmaszek.
“We both fell off our bikes and our heads and bodies slammed into the concrete road…We both lay flat out on the road as the rest of the team gathered around us. I stayed still, hoping I hadn’t broken my back or paralysed myself. Slowly, I moved my limbs and was relieved they responded.”
Both Branson and Stellmaszek are now sporting road rash, bumps and bruises, including a massive bump on the hip for the Virgin founder.
Read the full recount on Virgin.com here.