Virgin Galactic has sold about 800 tickets over the past decade, with the initial batch priced at $200,000 each.
The long-awaited commercial space flight service by Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company founded by Richard Branson, will launch later this month, the company announced.
The first space flight, called “Galactic 01,” is planned for June 27 to June 30, the company said Thursday.
“Galactic 02” will follow in early August, with monthly space flights expected thereafter.
Galactic 01 will carry three crew members from the Italian Air Force and Italy’s National Research Council to conduct microgravity research.
That research flight window will begin on June 27 and span the next three days, with timing depending on weather.
After that, those who have been waiting more than a decade to board Virgin Galactic’s rocket-powered space plane are expected to get their chance.
Virgin Galactic’s space plane
Virgin Galactic has been working to send paying passengers on short space trips for years and, in 2021, finally won approval from the federal government. The company completed its final test run in May.
After reaching an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,000 m), Virgin Galactic’s space plane released from a carrier plane and descended for a moment before igniting its rocket motors.
The plane shuts down upon reaching space, providing passengers with silence, weightlessness, and an aerial view of Earth. The rocket ship then returned to the runway at Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert.
Virgin Galactic has sold about 800 tickets over the past decade, with the initial batch priced at $200,000 each. Tickets are now priced at $450,000 per person.
The company said early flyers have already received their seat assignments.
Virgin Galactic shares lost at least two-thirds of their value last year due to delays in launching the company’s commercial services. Shares traded up $6.30 in after-market trading on Thursday.