You Can Now Buy a Flight to Space on Virgin Galactic — For $450,000 Per Seat

As they say, space is hard — and one of the things it's hard on is the wallet. Following Virgin Galactic’s successful test flight on VSS Unity last month, the private spaceflight business has reopened ticket sales for its suborbital flights. Between 2013 and 2018, when when Virgin Galactic tickets were last on sale, 600 prospective passengers bought seats on the spaceplane. It turns out that the early bird got the worm, because those pioneering purchasers bought their tickets for $200,000 to $250,000 apiece. Today, Virgin Galactic's starting price is $450,000 per seat, though it will also sell "couples/friends/family" packages, as well as full-flight buyouts. Why the increase? Like any startup, Virgin Galactic is burning through cash and currently sits in the red, so higher ticket prices mean more revenue. Keep in mind, however, that compared to a trip to the International Space Station (ISS), which runs in the neighborhood of $55 million, Virgin Galactic's $450,000 price tag seems like a steal. That being said, a multi-day orbital flight with a stay on the ISS is quite a bit more intense than a 2-hour suborbital flight with Virgin Galactic. There will be at least two more test flights, the first of which is scheduled for September and will carry researchers from the Italian Air Force. A second test flight is planned for mid-2022 to test new upgrades to VSS Unity. So, if you're looking to buy tickets now, go ahead and make your move — but you'll still have to wait quite some time before your flight actually departs. In other words, if you have a lot of patience and money to burn, go for it.