Branson’s countdown has begun as he aims to lead the world’s first publicly traded human spaceflight company.
Ever fancy owning your own spaceship? Well, you should soon be able to buy shares in one, if Richard Branson succeeds in getting his Virgin Galactic IPO off the launchpad.
Branson’s space-tourism venture plans to go public as part of a deal with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created by Social Capital LP Chief Executive Officer Chamath Palihapitiya, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.
The deal was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal, which said the SPAC, Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp, would invest about $800m in exchange for a 49 percent stake in Virgin Galactic.
Branson’s company is racing against Blue Origin, the space business of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to bring tourists to space.
Virgin Galactic soared to the edge of space in February with a test passenger for the first time, nudging the company closer to its goal of suborbital flights for space tourists.
After Branson founded the company in 2004, his ambitious timeline for taking customers into space suffered delays and a fatal setback when the original SpaceShipTwo crashed on a test flight in 2014 that killed the copilot and seriously injured the pilot.
Branson has said he plans to be the first passenger on SpaceShipTwo’s first commercial flight in mid-2019.
SOURCE: News agencies