Virgin Galactic postpones commercial space travel services

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic has delayed the launch of its commercial space travel services until the first quarter of 2023, according to the company’s latest financial results. The delay was attributed to supply chain bottlenecks and labor constraints.

Virgin Galactic had previously planned to launch commercial space travel services in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“We look forward to returning to space in the fourth quarter and launching commercial service in the first quarter of next year,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier.

Despite the many delays, demand for space travel tickets remains strong, with around 800 reservations for future astronauts, according to the company.

During the first quarter of 2022, Virgin Galactic posted a net loss of $93 million. That compares to a loss of $130 million in the first quarter of 2021.

On July 11, 2021, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity successfully transported a crew of mission specialists along with company founder Richard Branson to the far reaches of space.

Space tourism is a booming market with a handful of competitors, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, vying to make space vacations an accessible reality.

Virgin Galactic aims to fly into space three times a month once its Unity and Imagine spacecraft both begin commercial spaceflights. VSS Unity is expected to begin commercial flights in the first quarter of 2023, and Unity will launch its first commercial service in mid-2023.

Willie R. Golden