Space tourism company Virgin Galactic has delayed the launch of its commercial space travel services until the first quarter of 2023, according to the company’s latest financial results. The delay was attributed to supply chain bottlenecks and labor constraints.
Virgin Galactic had previously planned to launch commercial space travel services in the fourth quarter of 2022.
“We look forward to returning to space in the fourth quarter and launching commercial service in the first quarter of next year,” CEO of Virgin Galactic, Michael Colglazier said.
Despite the numerous delays, demand for space travel tickets remains strong, with approximately 800 future astronaut reservations, according to the company.
During the first quarter of 2022, Virgin Galactic posted a net loss of $93 million. This compares to a loss of $130 million in the first quarter of 2021.
On July 11, 2021, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity successfully carried a crew of mission specialists as well as the company’s founder Richard Branson to the edge of space.
Space tourism is a fast-emerging market with a handful of competitors, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, vying to make vacationing in space an accessible reality.
Virgin Galactic aims to fly to space three times a month once both its Unity and Imagine spacecraft are both operating commercial spaceflights. VSS Unity is due to start commercial flights in the first quarter of 2023, with Unity to start its first commercial service in mid-2023.