Boeing Buys into Virgin Galactic with $20 Million Investment

One of NASA’s main private contractors and one of the largest airplane manufacturers in the world, Boeing, is deepening its ties with space exploration by investing in Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic VSS Unity in space 1 photo
Photo: Virgin Galactic
The announcement comes just a few months after Virgin said it would become the world’s first publicly listed space company. In return for its investment, Boeing will get an undisclosed amount of new shares.

As per a statement released by Virgin, the collaboration between the two is meant to broaden commercial space access and possibly even reshape global transportation. It’s unclear yet if this means some other technology for transport is in the works.

“Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” said in a statement Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures.

“Our work with Virgin Galactic and others will help unlock the future of space travel and high-speed mobility.”

Virgin’s business model calls for the use of a vertical takeoff system that comprises a carrier plane and the actual spaceship. The time the spacecraft spends in space is limited compared to what other private companies are offering, but Branson’s model is ideal for space tourism.

As per the details available now, one ticket to space costs around $200,000, including 3 days of training and medical checks. Over 600 people have allegedly expressed their interest in flying Virgin.

Aside from space tourism, this type of space flight seems the perfect and natural choice for easy access to zero-G of nations that otherwise have no chance of going there. Last week, for instance, the Italian Air Force announced it would fly three of its people to space onboard the Virgin spacecraft to conduct experiments.

It is for the first time in history when a government asks for its employees to travel to space on a private spaceship.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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