Aviation giant Boeing would reportedly invest $20 million in Richard Branson's space-tourism venture Virgin Galactic, which plans to be flying customers to suborbital space and back in the near future. Branson told international media that the collaboration of both the companies is for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for the human spaceflight programme. He further added that the Virgin Galactic and Boeing share a vision of opening access to the world and space, to more people in safe and environmentally responsible ways. Both the company representatives announced the collaboration on October 08, however, Virgin Galactic has not yet announced a specific date for beginning commercial flight.
In return for the investment made by Boeing's venture capital arm 'Boeing HorizonX Ventures', they would be receiving new shares for Virgin Galactic. The former company has already invested $1 billion to develop spaceflights that will fly people into space and can be reused. The company reportedly also took a step closer to its goal, as back in February one of the rocket planes soared to the edge of space with a test passenger for the first time.
There are already hundreds of people from approximately 60 countries, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and singer Justin Bieber who have put down deposits to fly on one of Virgin's suborbital flights. A ticket to ride the six-passenger SpaceShip sells for approximately $250,000 and there is some Virgin Galactic's ticket holder who has been reportedly waiting for over 14 years for the trip.
“It’s really about catalyzing the partnership first and foremost between two companies that bring incredible complementary capabilities to commercial space and to the key technologies needed — and frankly beyond just technologies. The whole end-to-end solutions to bring high-speed mobility to the masses,” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “It just seemed like from a tech maturity (standpoint), from an opportunity to start driving the next phase of all this, it seemed to make sense,” he said of the investment.
(With inputs from AP)