Want to invest into space? Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is going public

Astronaut company Virgin Galactic will become first to be publicly traded.

Inside his SpaceShipTwo vehicle, Richard Branson holds model of satellite LauncherOne. 2012.

Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images
  • Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic will go public later this year.
  • People will be able to buy shares when Virgin Galactic merges with a shell company.
  • The company aims to raise enough capital through investment to sustain itself until profitability.


Many may dream of space but have no viable paths towards it. Becoming a government agency astronaut is for the select few or you need to shell out hundreds of thousands for nascent space tourism. But now comes an opportunity for you to reach past our stratosphere at least vicariously by purchasing stock in billionaire Richard Branson's space company Virgin Galactic.

While this news does not necessarily mean you are going to the stars in the near future, it does bode well for the space industry as a whole. Later in 2019, Virgin Galactic will become the first publicly listed company that sends human to space, beating out Musk's SpaceX and Bezos's Blue Origin.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the deal to make this happen involves having a specially-designed acquisition company Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. investing about $800 million in Virgin Galactic to get a 49% ownership stake. Through the publicly-traded shell Social Capital Hedosophia, Branson's company will be open to the people.

Why do this now? Virgin Galactic thinks this will net it enough money to keep the business going until its spaceships will start bringing in profits.

SpaceShipTwo.

Virgin Galactic.

Branson expressed his rationale for the decision to be making sure "we can enable as many people in the world as possible to become astronauts."

So far, Virgin Galactic sold about $80 million worth of seats on future spaceflights to 600 people. Overall, it raised over $1 billion since 2004 (but mostly from Branson himself).

In February, Virgin Galactic sent 3 people past the edge of our stratosphere in its SpaceShipTwo vessel. The test flight reached 56 miles above the Earth.

Richard Branson Imagines the Future

The British entrepreneur's plan to populate outer space.

Yug, age 7, and Alia, age 10, both entered Let Grow's "Independence Challenge" essay contest.

Photos: Courtesy of Let Grow
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • The coronavirus pandemic may have a silver lining: It shows how insanely resourceful kids really are.
  • Let Grow, a non-profit promoting independence as a critical part of childhood, ran an "Independence Challenge" essay contest for kids. Here are a few of the amazing essays that came in.
  • Download Let Grow's free Independence Kit with ideas for kids.
Keep reading Show less

Divers discover world's largest underwater cave system filled with Mayan mysteries

Researchers in Mexico discover the longest underwater cave system in the world that's full of invaluable artifacts. 

Divers of the GAM project. Credit: Herbert Meyrl.
Technology & Innovation

Keep reading Show less

Archaeologists find largest-ever Mayan complex hiding in plain sight

Researchers discover a massive ceremonial structure of the ancient Mayans using lasers.

3D image of the site of Aguada Fenix.

Credit: Takeshi Inomata
Surprising Science
  • Archaeologists use laser-based aerial surveys to discover the oldest and largest Mayan structure ever found.
  • The 3,000-year-old complex in the Mexican state of Tabasco was likely used as a ceremonial center.
  • Researchers think the site showed a communal society rather than one based on worshipping elites.
Keep reading Show less

Engineers 3D print soft, rubbery brain implants

Technique may enable speedy, on-demand design of softer, safer neural devices.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Surprising Science

The brain is one of our most vulnerable organs, as soft as the softest tofu. Brain implants, on the other hand, are typically made from metal and other rigid materials that over time can cause inflammation and the buildup of scar tissue.

Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…