Saudi Arabia to invest $1 billion in Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit

Week Three: Ninth Anniversary Fund-Raising Drive for Behind the Black

It is now the third week in my annual anniversary fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black.

Please consider donating. I am trying to avoid advertising on this website, but will be forced to add it if I do not get enough support from my readers. You can give a one-time contribution, from $5 to $100, or a regular subscription for as little as $2 per month. Your support will be deeply appreciated, and will allow me to continue to report on science and culture freely.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Capitalism in space: Saudi Arabia and Virgin have signed a non-binding agreement for Saudi Arabia to invest $1 billion in Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.

I’m not sure what to make of this press release. The agreement is clearly called “non-binding,” which means Saudi Arabia is not obliged to provide any funds. At the same time, the deal appears to shift power and control of the two Virgin companies to the Arab country, which if successful (a big “if”) would also quickly give Saudi Arabia both a manned and smallsat launching capability.

Why they chose Virgin appears at first baffling, considering that company’s repeated inability to achieve any of its promises. It could be, however, that Richard Branson’s funds are drying up, and that he needed this deal to keep both companies afloat. Saudi Arabia thus saw an opportunity and grabbed it.



  • Mark

    Every minute. Born. Sucker.

  • wayne

    “Never give a sucker and even break or smarten up a chump”
    W.C. Fields

  • Edward

    From the article: “HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, said: … The future of Saudi Arabia is one of innovation

    I’m not sure how much this represents innovation for Saudi Arabia. That country will not have innovated anything, at least not related to this investment. It seems to be just a tactic of buying into someone else’s innovations and inventions. That tactic is not innovative, either, as it has been done before.

    If Branson is correct, that he is only months away from operations, it seems that Saudi Arabia is getting in at the last minute without having to suffer the slings and arrows of the development problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *