One of the two largest commercial passenger aircraft builders, Boeing, is taking a step to conquer commercial passenger space flights as well. On October 8, 2019, the company announced its planned $20 million investment into Virgin Galactic, to this day the only company which has put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service, according to Boeing.
Boeing is investing $20 million into Virgin Galactic in return for shares with expectations for the transaction to close by the end of 2019, according to a statement by the manufacturer. Virgin Galactic, a company co-founded by Richard Brandson, announced plans to become publicly listed in July 2019.
The two entities plan to explore commercial space “access” and travel technologies, it stated, without revealing specific projects the two plan to collaborate on.
“Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures.
Virgin Galactic is developing commercial human space flight. For the mission, it has already spent $1 billion to build reusable human spaceflight systems and is “the first and only company to have put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service,” according to its new partner.
In April 2018, Virgin Galactic conducted a successful supersonic test flight on its SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity passenger rocket. SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry passengers and other payloads to suborbital space. The journey on the vehicle would take travelers approximately 62 miles (100 km) above Earth to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet.