Published On: Sun, Oct 27th, 2019

Space tourism operator Virgin Galactic wraps up $450m merger with SCH

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US aerospace company Virgin Galactic (VG), which is embarking on making human spaceflight possible for private individuals and researchers, has completed its previously announced $450 million merger deal with public investment vehicle Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH).

The resulting space tourism operator following the merger has been named Virgin Galactic Holdings. The aerospace company manufactures its space vehicles in Mojave, California, via The Spaceship Company – its aerospace development subsidiary. Commercial operations of the company will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic is said to have customer reservations from 600 plus people in 60 countries.

George Whitesides – CEO of Virgin Galactic Holdings said:  “Today is the start of a new era for the human spaceflight industry. VG has already pioneered several important space milestones, including sending the first test passenger to space onboard a commercial vehicle, and today’s announcement is no different.

“Now that VG is a publicly traded company, anyone can invest in a human spaceflight company that is striving to truly transform the market and be part of the excitement of the commercial space industry. I am proud of the strong flow of customer deposits and interest we have earned to date, and look forward to making the dream of spaceflight come true for our amazing astronaut customers.”

Virgin Galactic is embarking on making human spaceflight possible for private individuals and researchers

Virgin Galactic is embarking on making human spaceflight possible for private individuals and researchers. Photo: Business Wire

As a result of the merger deal, Virgin Galactic has secured more than $450 million of primary proceeds and as of market close on 25 October, the business has a market capitalization of $2.3bn.

Existing shareholders of Virgin Galactic will own around 59% in the publicly-traded space tourism operator.

Chamath Palihapitiya – Founder and CEO of SCH, said:  “Since our founding, SCH set out to unite technologists, entrepreneurs and technology-oriented investors around a shared vision. What was once a pursuit is now a successfully completed mission. We are pleased to have reached today’s monumental milestone and look forward to continuing to work with the Company to transform the commercial space industry.”

Virgin Galactic is focused on developing a spaceflight system to provide customers a multi-day experience through a spaceflight journey that includes several minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth from space. The spaceflight system has entered into the final stages of development and has already completed multiple crewed flights of its vehicle into space. The initial commercial launch of the commercial spaceflight journey is expected to take place next year.

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