Nevertheless, the company estimated on Sunday that more than 600 people from some 60 countries had signed up for one of its flights. The first paying SpaceShipTwo passengers may begin flying in the next year, after the company completes two more test flights.
During Virgin Galactic’s livestream on Sunday, some space tourists-in-waiting spoke about how they were looking forward to taking the flights. They had been invited to watch Mr. Branson’s flight from Spaceport America in New Mexico. There was no discussion of the steep cost associated with space travel, which is not limited to Virgin Galactic.
An unnamed passenger paid $28 million to join the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos later this month when his rocket company, Blue Origin, is to launch its New Shepard rocket and capsule. The company has yet to announce the standard fare for a trip on its spacecraft when Mr. Bezos isn’t in the next seat.
While the price of a brief suborbital trip with Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin is expensive, trips even higher to orbit and beyond are downright, well, astronomical.
Three people paid $55 million each to Axiom Space in Houston to fly in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the International Space Station as soon as early next year.