Virgin Galactic said it’s willing to accommodate adventurers who wants to be the first to hop aboard in one of its tourist spaceflights before anyone else. But you must be willing to pay to show your readiness.
Following its latest earnings, more on those in a moment, Virgin Galactic has announced a One Small Step program that will move qualified customers to the front of the line for “firm” reservations.
Now, starting from February 26th at 3 AM Eastern, travellers who want to make this adventure can register online with a $1,000 refundable deposit to fly into orbit sooner when tickets are once again available.
Although the company did not say exactly when the next tickets would be available or how much they would cost, CEO George Whitesides had warned that prices might rise from the $250,000 for early customers.
The Virgin Galactic is still a long way from courting everyday people. Just know that the new batch of tickets is believed to be coming later this year.
Ticket sales have not been going on since 2014 when the fatal SpaceShipTwo crash led Virgin to place a hold on operations and reassess its progress toward passenger flights.
However, Richard Branson’s company didn’t explain why it was offering One Small Step. The clues may be written all over Virgin Galactic’s financials sheet.
The company posted its first public earnings as it announced the front-of-line program, revealing a net loss of $72.8 million in the last quarter of 2019, considerably higher than the $45.7 million from the same period in 2018.
When that is put together with allusions to possible commercial flight delays and Virgin Galactic could bleed money for a while. The deposits are not likely to come anywhere near making up the shortfall.
But they increase the odds that those on the waiting list will follow through and pay for their tickets completely.