Billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism firm, Virgin Galactic Holdings, stated Tuesday its Q4 net loss expanded to $73 million from a year-ago loss of $46 million since it posted its first results as a publicly-traded firm.
The quarterly results, which include a one-time deal and different related prices, come as the corporation is aiming for a first business flight later this year with Branson on board. Shares of Virgin Galactic had been risky in after-hours trading and last down 6.4%. Shares had rallied in recent days, pushed by investor interest in the first space tourism firm to hit public markets.
Virgin Galactic contends with billionaire-backed ventures like Blue Origin, founded by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, to be the first to provide suborbital flights to fare-paying thrill-seekers, presaging a new generation of civilian space travel that would start as soon as this year.
Other entities, along with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing, have their sights set on higher altitudes like the International Space Station (ISS), the moon and eventually Mars.
Some 600 people from 60 nations have paid or put down deposits to fly on one of Virgin’s suborbital flights, worth around $80 million in total collected deposits and $120 million of potential revenue, the corporation mentioned.
A 90-minute flight, which provides passengers to experience a few minutes of weightlessness, costs about $250,000.
Now, Virgin plans to grab on a wave of more than 7,900 “registrations of interest” it has received since then from future astronauts by collecting $1,000 deposits to reserve a place in line as seats become available, it stated Tuesday.