Virgin Galactic has postponed the launch of its space tourism service again, forcing those who have already purchased tickets in advance to wait in line even longer before they can make the most incredible journey of their lives. The news was a disappointment for 600 people who a few years ago forked out USD 250 thousand for a seat in a rocket plane, as well as for about 100 people who recently bought tickets at a higher price — USD 450 thousand.
On August 5, Virgin Galactic announced that it was forced to move its commercial space tourism services to the second quarter of 2023 instead of the first. Thus, this is the third such delay in 10 months. Moreover, there is no guarantee that it will not be the last.
The delay is due to the improvement of the VMS Eve carrier aircraft, which requires more time than expected. The carrier aircraft was built to help the VSS rocket plane reach the Pocket line (100 km above the Earth), which is considered the boundary of space.
Despite the setback, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier made it clear to his clients that preparatory work for the maintenance of commercial space tourism is continuing. For example, the Aurora division of Virgin Galactic is also building a new carrier aircraft in cooperation with Boeing. The new space plane will be named Imagine.
“Although our plans envisage the launch of a commercial service in the second quarter of 2023, progress in the development of the future fleet continues. Many key elements of our roadmap are already ready for significant business scaling,” Michael Colglazier reassures clients.
At the same time, Virgin Galactic’s main competitor in the space tourism sector, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, has already made six successful launches with space tourists aboard the New Shepard rocket. A few years ago, two companies were fighting for leadership in this field. Despite the fact that Virgin Galactic was the first, Blue Origin clearly won this race.
Earlier we reported that space companies experienced a difficult first quarter of 2022.
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