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Virgin Galactic May Sell $500M of Shares After its Success

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Virgin Galactic announced it may sell its shares up to $500m after the space trip becomes successful on Sunday.

The company is planning to use the money raised to develop the fleet and infrastructure of its spaceship.

Last Sunday, Galactic’s billionaire founder, Sir Richard Branson went on a trip to the edge of space along with his team. They used one of their planes that had been developing for 17 years.

They came back to Earth just after an hour after leaving the ground.

He said the trip was an “experience of a lifetime”.

Shares in Virgin Galactic rose about 8% before markets opened in the US on Monday. 

But they had dropped 17% by the end of the day after the announcement of its share sale was made. 

The billionaire and his Virgin Group currently hold a 24% stake in the firm.

‘Experience it for yourself’

Sir Richard was accompanied by two pilots and three company employees on his space trip. 

He wanted to test the space tourism experience that he expects to sell to the customers from next year onwards.

“I’ve had my notebook with me and I’ve written down 30 or 40 little things that will make the experience for the next person who goes to space with us that much better,” he said. “The only way sometimes you can find these little things is to get in a spaceship and go to space and experience it for yourself.” – He said.

About 600 people had already paid the deposits for the tickets, costing them $250,000 – including Space X and Tesla’s Elon Musk, according to reports in the Wall Streets Journal.

Sir Richard first announced his aim to make a space plane in 2004, with the certainty he could start commercial service by 2007.

In spite of technical hitches and a deadly crash in 2014, the company’s stock has almost doubled this year as its commercial launch gets closer.

Ken Herbert, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said that the company could start taking more flight bookings for wealthy customers soon.

“We view Branson’s achievement as a massive marketing coup for Virgin Galactic that will be impossible for the public to ignore,” he said in a note.

 

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