Virgin Galactic, the space travel company backed by Sir Richard Branson, is set to launch on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as shares start trading on October 28. It follows Virgin’s merger with publicly listed Silicon Valley holding firm, Social Capital Hedosophia, which injected $800m to Virgin as it aims to send customers into space in 2020.
Virgin Galactic is vying with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to be the first to send fare-paying passengers into space. Virgin has told investors it hopes to make 16 trips to space with customers as soon as 2020. The company has stated that in 2023, it expects to make 270 spaceflights, bringing in nearly $600m and generating profit of more than $430m. Around 600 people are said to have already paid deposits for a 90-minute flight costing about $250,000.