Get your priority ticket to space! Virgin Galactic opened a pre-booking program, called One Small Step, for people eager to reserve the first seats of the upcoming spaceflights.
With a refundable advance payment of $1,000, the One Small Step program allows for impatient astronauts to be prioritized when a new set of seats will be released.
“We have been greatly encouraged by the ongoing and increasing demand seen from around the world for personal spaceflight,” said Stephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Director in a statement. “One Small Step allows us to help qualify and build confidence in our direct sales pipeline, as well as to ensure that those who are most keen to make reservations, are able to do so at the earliest opportunity”.
The next phase of the program, One Giant Leap, is expected before the end of 2020. Tickets should cost around $250,000.
The company received 600 firm bookings from customers of 60 different countries when it closed ticket sales after Virgin Galactic’s first test flight. On December 13, 2018, its SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity completed a successful maiden flight on the edge of space, reaching an altitude of approximately 82.7 kilometers (51.4 miles).
Virgin Galactic continued to receive many requests and it now claims to have accumulated “7957 online reservation registrations in the fourteen months since the first spaceflight”.
Virgin Galactic aims to develop commercial human space flight with its spaceship designed to fit six tourist passengers. After a climb assisted by its carrier aircraft, VSM Eve, VSS Unity uses its rocket engine to reach the edges of space. There, passengers would be able to see the curvature of earth and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
On February 14, 2020, the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity was relocated to New Mexico in the new base dedicated to commercial activities, Spaceport America.
The final stages of Virgin Galactic’s test program are expected to begin soon. Flights with the carrier aircraft would allow spaceflight operations team “to familiarize themselves with the airspace and ground control”.
Virgin Galactic reported a loss of $210.395 million for 2019, with only $3.781 million of revenue over the year.