Virgin Galactic already has about 700 customers who are each paying $250,000 for a 90-minute flight. Branson’s space effort had suffered delays due to major engineering changes that were required after the 2014 crash of its VSS Enterprise, which killed pilot Michael Alsbury.
Virgin Galactic plans a few additional test flights from New Mexico in late summer or early fall, with additional employees along for the ride as the company finalizes its operating procedures.
“We want to make sure we have a very choreographed service and offering planned out,” Whitesides said. “We want to give the pilots a few times to just fly it.”
Of the work remaining to be done, Whitesides said “the No. 1 thing is we need to finish installation of the commercial cabin. Our interiors team is sort of going through that process to create the world-class Virgin cabin everyone expects—and that’s going to entail a lot of work.”
Beyond the cabin work, Virgin Galactic is also ferrying its ground and training equipment from California. “We’ve moved from the realm of space-age physics to logistics,” he said.
We are at the dawn of commercial space flight and that represents the creation of a brand-new investment arena, which for the moment is primarily in private hands. Nevertheless, there are going to be ancillary movements in a host of supporting sectors such as tourism, communication, defense, manufacturing, experimentation, mining etc.Back to top