Who Owns Virgin Galactic? Why Is Richard Branson Going to Space?

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Starting a space exploration company was perhaps an unsurprising step for Mr. Branson, who had made a career and a fortune. estimated at $6 billion – establishing flamboyant new businesses that he promotes with an entertainer’s flair.

What became his Virgin business empire began in the 1970s with a small record store in central London, before Mr Branson transferred it to Virgin Records, the home of the Sex Pistols, Peter Gabriel and more. In 1984, he co-founded the company that became Virgin Atlantic to challenge British Airways in the field of long-haul passenger air travel. Other Virgin-branded airlines followed suit.

Virgin Group has also dived into other businesses, including a cell phone carrier, a passenger railroad and a number of hotels. Not all have performed flawlessly: While both Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia filed for bankruptcy last year during the pandemic, few today remember his attempts. soft drinks, makeup supplies or underwear.

Virgin Galactic was announced with great fanfare in 2004, promising to create a stylish space tourism company. virgin Orbit, a by-product That company, which launched small satellites from a jumbo jet, came 13 years later. Virgin Orbit, now separate from Virgin Galactic, carried payloads into orbit twice this year.

The space tourism company shares Mr. Branson’s passion for high-flying, including skydiving and hot air ballooning. And unlike most Virgin Group’s businesses that are actually minority investments or license-only businesses, Virgin Galactic has been Mr. Branson’s main focus. Raised $1 billion for space companies from Saudi Arabia. cancel the deal After the murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. And in a regulatory filing, the company said it leveraged “its personal network, as well as referrals from existing reservation holders, to generate new inquiries and reservation sales.”

“We spent 14 years working on our space program,” Mr. Branson said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in 2018. “It was hard, and space is hard, rocket science.” He added that he hopes to travel on one of Virgin Galactic’s flights by the end of that year.

Virgin Galactic joined the New York Stock Exchange in 2019 after merging with a publicly traded investment fund, giving it a powerful new source of funding to compete with deep-pocketed competitors – and Mr. Branson is one of the company’s flight teams.

But as Virgin Galactic has tried to keep up with the likes of Mr. Bezos’ Blue Origin, Mr. Branson downplayed the rivalry between the two. “I know no one will believe me when I say it, but to be honest, I don’t,” she said. He told the Today Show earlier this week.

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