Virgin Galactic Restarts Spaceflight Ticket Sales For A Stratospheric $450,000 A Pop

ToplineThe Virgin Galactic Corporation announced Thursday that it will reopen general ticket sales. It offers trips 50 miles above Earth for customers who are interested in the extraterrestrial, and has $450,000 left.Sir Richard Branson, along with crew members, speaks on stage after flying into space aboard the Virgin... [+] Galactic vessel. He described it as an "experience of a life time" AFP via Getty ImagesThe Key FactsThe company announced that tickets for Virgin Galactic flights start at $450,000. They also offer multi-seat and full-plane reservations. Before 2014, the company sold tickets to around 600 people at prices between $200,000- $250,000. Sales were stopped in 2014 following the death of a pilot on a test flight. It is possible that new inductees will have to wait for a while: Spacefarers who make deposits will be given priority for future sales and the company plans to offer commercial flights next year.Important QuoteWe are thrilled to announce that sales will reopen effective immediately, starting with Spacefarer communities, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier stated in a statement on Thursday. This was due to the increased consumer interest after the Unity 22 flight. We are thrilled to offer a new industry and experience to consumers as we strive to spread the wonders of space to a wide audience.Important BackgroundForbes estimates Branson is worth $4.9Billion. He founded Virgin Galactic 17-years ago. It hopes to offer regular tourist flights to space that provide unparalleled views of Earth as well as weightlessness for well-off customers. After years of testing and occasionally failings, Branson and three Virgin Galactic employees flew the first crewed mission on the VSS Unity spaceplane.TangentOther companies are also vying to offer commercial space flight services. Blue Origin's first crewed flight, which carried founder Jeff Bezos as well as three other passengers and a paying customer, was launched last month. After several NASA contracts, Elon Musks SpaceX hopes to also enter the space tourism market.Continue readingRichard Bransons 17-Year Journey into Space: How the Virgin Founder Became The First Billionaire to Fly His Own Rocket (Forbes).