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Branson's Virgin Galactic re-opens ticket sales for spaceflight, but it’s going to cost you more than a bond

File photo: Shares of Virgin Galactic have fallen 66 percent since October, when the company delayed its commercial space travel service to the fourth quarter of 2022. Picture: AP

File photo: Shares of Virgin Galactic have fallen 66 percent since October, when the company delayed its commercial space travel service to the fourth quarter of 2022. Picture: AP

Published Feb 16, 2022

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London - Billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Holdings said on Tuesday it is re-opening ticket sales for upcoming space travel to the general public from Feb. 16, driving its shares more than 10 percent higher in premarket trading.

The tickets are priced at $450 000 (about $6.7-million) each, including an initial deposit of $150 000.

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"We plan to have our first 1 000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year," Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

Shares of Virgin Galactic have fallen 66 percent since October, when the company delayed its commercial space travel service to the fourth quarter of 2022.

The spaceflight reservations include access to the Future Astronaut community, which will provide members access to events, trips and space-readiness activities before their trip.

A handful of companies including Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin are striving to make space tourism a reality, and some have already launched civilian missions.

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In November last year, Branson and the charity fundraising platform Omaze announced a mother and daughter duo from Caribbean as winners of a free trip to suborbital space.

Keisha S., a health and energy coach from Antigua and her daughter Barbuda, has won free two seats worth $900 000 aboard Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity space plane.

"Congratulations, Keisha S. from Antigua & Barbuda! You are going to space!!" the company tweeted.

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"I've always had a lifelong love of flying and a fascination with space, and this is truly a dream come true for me," said Keisha, in a statement.

She said she hopes to share the experience with her daughter, "so together we can inspire the next generation to follow their dreams".

The sweepstakes kicked off in July following Virgin Galactic's historic Unity 22 mission, and drew donations from 164 338 people around the world in eight weeks to raise a projected $1.7-million in grants benefiting Space for Humanity and their Citizen Astronaut Programme.

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