While the likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have already begun jetting paying customers off to the stars, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic faces yet another setback.
The space tourism company has lost around 20% of its value overnight after delaying its first paid flights to the end of 2022. This is after previously pushing back trips to the middle of next year.
Virgin Galactic says the delay is due to planned refurbishments which will “enhance” its spacecraft and improve its performance. Its stock prices have dropped by around 20% overnight as a result..
Although Virgin finally took Branson and five others to the edge of space in July, it is still yet to launch a paid flight, for which tickets sell at an eye-watering $450,000.
Richard Branson originally wanted Virgin Galactic to launch its first spaceflight all the way back in 2010, which was delayed for years after a major crash of a test plane in 2014.
The original SpaceShipTwo, a.k.a. the VSS Enterprise, broke apart and exploded during a test flight in 2014, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury.
Virgin Galactic’s space travel relies on not one, but two aircraft. Astronauts sit in the ‘SpaceShipTwo’ shuttle, which is carried to the edge of the atmosphere by a cargo plane, ‘White Knight Two’.
Virgin Galactic seems to be lagging behind in the billionaire private space race.
As it delays flights, the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin are already taking paying customers to the cosmos.
This week, Blue Origin flew Star Trek icon William Shatner to the stratosphere for around 11 minutes.
Meanwhile, SpaceX took four civilians on a three-day jaunt last month past the International Space Station and the Hubble telescope.
For the latest breaking news stories and incredible tales from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.