Capitalism in space: Virgin Galactic today announced both a major rebranding of the company — significantly deemphasizing its links to Richard Branson — as well as a resumption of ticket sales for its suborbital flights.
Virgin Galactic opened ticket sales to the general public and rebranded itself today a week ahead of what promises to be another dismal quarterly earnings report. The company most recently reported to having 700 reservations for suborbital spaceflights, with plans to reach 1,000 later this year. Space tourism flights are currently scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022.
Virgin Galactic’s battered stock, which opened at $8.93, soared by more than 29 percent to $10.50 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company is scheduled to report earnings (actually a loss) for the fourth quarter of 2021 on Feb. 22.
Tickets will cost $450K, with a $150K deposit required. It also appears that — in order to encourage sales — the company is capping present sales to the first 1,000 who provide the deposit. Since it has for years claimed it has 700 paying customers already, this suggests they are looking for only another 300 at this time.
Branson’s share in the company is now only about 11% — having successfully pumped and then dumped 80% of his shares — and it appears its management senses his name and the association with his Virgin Group now carries more negative than positive connotations. The new company logo for example shrinks the word “Virgin” so much that if you didn’t look close, you’d think the company was simply called “Galactic.”
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