After completing its first successful fully crewed test flight for space travel on Sunday, British billionaire Richard Branson founded Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc filed to sell up to $500 million in common stock on Modnay. Sunday’s flight had Branson as one of the travellers into space.
The 8 per cent gains made by the company following the successful flight were reversed on Monday after news of the selloff spread, as it lost 12 per cent of its stock value equivalent to more than $1 billion of the company’s market capitalization.
According to a Reuters’ calculation, the share sell would be equivalent to up to 4 per cent of the total outstanding shares of Virgin Galactic as of their last close.
Sunday’s successful space flight by Virgin Galactic beat the efforts of rival astro-tourism firm Blue Origin, founded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, to become the first company to successfully fly to space and return back to Earth. Bezos is slated to make a space flight in one of the rockets of his company on July 20.
SpaceX CEO Elon Muskis also in this space race – which is popularly also known as the “billionaire space race”. According to the estimates of the Swiss investment bank UBS, the global space travel industry is expected to reach a value of $3 billion annually by 2030.
So far this year, the stock price of Virgin Galactic has surged by almost 84 per cent driven by the sentiment and positive outlook for the industry as estimated by UBS.
Musk had bought a ticket for his own space ride with Branson’s company, a Virgin Galactic spokesperson on Sunday told the Wall Street Journal.
The company aims to be able to ultimately lower the price to around $40,000 per seat as and when the company ramps up its service and achieves greater economies of scale, Branson has said. The company has a vision of building a large enough fleet so that it can conduct about 400 spaceflights, Colglazier said.
In the months ahead and prior to beginning regular commercial operation in 2022, the company will conduct at least two more test flights of the spaceplane. Virgin Galactic has said. According to company CEO Michael Colglazier, four Italian astronauts-in-training will be carried in one of those flights.
(Adapted from Forbes.com)