It's been about a year since Richard Branson beat Jeff Bezos to space. Following that, Virgin has postponed commercial operations as they've undertaken an enhancement program to refurbish and modify its fleet of air and spacecraft. After a period of silence, Virgin has made a new announcement on their home page on February 15.
First, and perhaps least important, the company revealed their new branding, inspired by "the love, wonder, and awe of the experience of viewing Earth from space." Indeed, the new color scheme is vibrant and fun, while incorporating the silhouette of their unique spacecraft is a nice touch.
“A global, commercial spaceline demands an iconic and timeless brand. It is important that our brand represents our dynamic customer offering and speaks to our unique experience, style and service,” says Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier in an announcement.
More importantly, Virgin announced when people would start ordering reservations for the first batch of flights, which are slated to commence later this year. And that date happened to be the very next day, February 16.
“We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year, providing an incredibly strong foundation as we begin regular operations and scale our fleet”, Colglazier elaborates.
The price is a hefty $450'000, a third of which is an initial deposit. Beyond the trip itself, this buys you a few days of training to prepare you for space flight, bespoke accommodations, and membership in the exclusive Future Astronauts community. Flights will take off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, last 90 minutes, and feature a few minutes of weightlessness.