Buyers have shown great interest in Virgin Galactic’s suborbital vehicles as the business resumes ticket sales, even though customers may have to wait a long time to fly. After reopening ticket sales in August, the firm claimed in its fiscal 3rd quarter financial results posted November 8 that it sold around 100 seats at $450,000 each. The total number of consumers who have scheduled suborbital trips now stands at around 700. The new customers each paid a deposit of about $150,000, with $25,000 of that amount being non-refundable.
Michael Colglazier, Virgin Galactic’s chief executive, stated the new clients were from a group that had previously paid a $1,000 deposit to be among the very first in line when the ticket sales restarted. Upwards of 60,000 people contacted the firm after the company’s July voyage to space with Richard Branson, who is the founder of the company, on board, expressing interest in purchasing tickets.
He explained that the initial purchases were a trial of the method the firm will follow for prospective ticket sales, which included “fairly extensive” one-on-one conversations with potential consumers. “The conversion rates from sales calls to confirmed space travel tickets were really high,” he claimed.
When Virgin Galactic begins commercial service, the company hopes to have 1,000 customers. “We are quite bullish and hopeful” about achieving that objective, he added, with the preliminary round of sales efforts winding up by the close of the year and the wider audience of people who indicated interest after July’s flight reaching out in the very first quarter of 2022.
Customers will, however, have to wait a while before traveling. Virgin Galactic reported on October 14 that VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo vehicle as well as VMS Eve, the WhiteKnightTwo plane that carries SpaceShipTwo, had begun an extended maintenance period. VMS Eve and VSS Unity are not expected to fly commercially until the 4th quarter of 2022, according to the corporation.
During the earnings session, Colglazier reiterated that schedule. VMS Eve just flew from New Mexico’s Spaceport America to the company’s Mojave, California, facilities to start that maintenance work. Modifications to the plane’s central wing portion and the pylon to which SpaceShipTwo is linked, as well as replacement of the plane’s horizontal stabilizers and various avionics and mechanical components, are all part of this effort.
As per a timeline presented by the firm during the call, VMS Eve would be ready to commence flights in the 3rd quarter of 2022. Around that time, it will also transport the very first SpaceShip III vehicle dubbed VSS Imagine. It will move from Mojave to the Spaceport America facility for testing.