Space tourists will have to wait a bit before going on a suborbital flight from Virgin Galactic. On May 5, Virgin Galactic announced in its press release that commercial passenger flights will be postponed to 2023. The reasons were “constraints in the supply chain and labor force”. Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier noted that the company is trying to eliminate most of these problems to minimize the impact on flight schedules. The announcement was part of the release of the company’s quarterly financial results.
“We are looking forward to returning to space in the fourth quarter of 2022 and launching commercial operations in the first quarter of 2023,” Colglazier said.
Currently, a seat on board the VSS Unity space plane costs 450 thousand dollars. As of November 2021, Virgin Galactic had about 700 registered customers. As of May 2022, there are already 800 people on the list who want to go on a suborbital flight.
Unforgettable flight to the border with space
Virgin Galactic’s first full-crewed space flight took place in July 2021 with founder Richard Branson on board. After this flight, the company twice resumed selling tickets to customers for a short time, but the price increased from 250 thousand dollars to 450 thousand.
VSS Unity space flight is carried out under the wings of a carrier aircraft called VMS Eve. When the pair reaches a height of about 15 kilometers, Unity detaches, turns on the rocket accelerator and rises into suborbital space to the border with space.
Up to six passengers and two pilots can travel to suborbital space at the same time. VSS Unity has so far flown to the last milestone 4 times, but all these were testing flights. Unity flights are currently suspended due to maintenance and improvement work on VMS Eve, which is expected to continue until mid-2022.
Virgin Galactic Losses
Virgin Galactic has now reported a net loss of USD 93 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared with a net loss of USD 130 million in the first quarter of 2021. As of March 31, the company’s cash reserves amount to USD 1.22 billion, so the company has time to prepare to start regular passenger flights with space tourists.
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