Boeing is investing $20 million in Virgin Galactic, a vertically integrated human spaceflight company that is pioneering the possibilities of commercial space transportation for everyday passengers who can afford it. The companies will work together to broaden commercial space access and transform global travel technologies.
To date, Virgin Galactic has invested $1 billion of capital to build reusable human spaceflight systems designed to enable significantly more people to experience and use the advantages of space transport. In July, the company announced its intent to become a publicly-listed entity via a business combination with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. The Boeing investment will be in return for new shares in Virgin Galactic, pending the closing of that transaction.
The investment brings together two companies with extensive experience in the space industry. Virgin Galactic is a pioneer of commercial human space flight and is the first and only company to have put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service, having built and flown a Mach 3 passenger vehicle. Through its manufacturing and development capabilities, Virgin Galactic can design, build, test, and operate a fleet of advanced aerospace vehicles. Boeing has unsurpassed experience transporting people to orbit and building and operating large structures in that challenging environment. A part of every U.S. manned space program, Boeing serves as NASA’s prime contractor for the International Space Station (ISS) and is preparing the new, reusable, Starliner space capsule for launch to the ISS.
“This is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight program,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company form a vertically-integrated aerospace company pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers. It believes the commercial exploration of space represents one of the most exciting and significant technology initiatives of our time. It is embarking on this commercial exploration journey with a mission to put humans into space and return them safely to Earth on a routine, consistent and affordable basis. Using its proprietary and reusable technologies, and supported by a distinctive, Virgin–branded customer experience, it is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique, multi-day experience culminating in a spaceflight that includes several minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth from space.
It is in the final stages of development, having already completed two crewed flights of its vehicle into space, and anticipates initial commercial launch in 2020.