ENTERTAINMENT

A third of people with more than $ 5 million would consider a Virgin Galactic spaceflight


Nearly a million people could eventually fly into space on Virgin Galactic, driving the company's revenue skyrocketing, according to a new study announced Monday.

Cowen, a global investment management, banking, and research firm, released a notice to investors on Monday sharing their latest findings on Sir Richard Branson's company.

Virgin Galactic completed its second test flight on June 25th from its new base in New Mexico – an extraordinary "spaceport" from which the paying astronauts will take off. All previous test flights were conducted from their location in California's Mojave Desert.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Unity is pictured over New Mexico on June 25th

On Monday, research by investment firm Cowen found that nearly a million people could fly space flights organized by Sir Richard Branson's company Virgin Galactic

On Monday, research by investment firm Cowen found that nearly a million people could fly space flights organized by Sir Richard Branson's company Virgin Galactic

There are still some test flights to be done this year, and passengers paying $ 250,000 are expected to start flying in early 2021 – with Branson on the first flight.

Oliver Chen, an analyst for Cowen, said Monday that they saw "a high level of interest among high net worth individuals," according to the CNBC notice.

They categorized "high net worth individuals" as those with assets of at least $ 5 million.

Chen calculated that Virgin Galactics & # 39; total addressable market & # 39; was about 2.4 million people.

Of these people, about 39 percent are interested in paying at least $ 250,000 for a ticket.

Around 600 people have registered so far – including Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber.

The spaceship takes off from a mothership and is released before shooting into the sky

The spaceship takes off from a mothership and is released before shooting into the sky

"The space market is gigantic," Branson said in December 2018 when the first test flight reached space.

& # 39; The price will go up a little in the short term and then go down over the next three years. And the more spaceships we build, the lower the price. & # 39;

Chen wrote that one of the biggest challenges facing the company was "delivery bottlenecks".

The company is currently flying one spacecraft and has announced plans to build up to five more in the coming years. Two are currently under construction at their Mojave operations center.

Each spaceship can carry up to six passengers on a flight to the edge of space in addition to the two pilots who fly it.

Virgin Galactic released photos in July showing the paying astronauts in the cabin

Virgin Galactic released photos in July showing the paying astronauts in the cabin

Cowen estimated that if Virgin Galactic built 11 starships by 2030, the company could "potentially fly ~ 3,400 passengers a year," with flights almost daily.

"Virgin Galactic is uniquely positioned to capitalize on growing consumer interest in luxury experiences, especially among high net worth individuals," wrote Chen.

"We believe the commercial space business, which already has 600 reservations, has significant growth opportunity ahead of it."

Virgin Galactic shares rose approximately 3 percent from the previous close of trading of $ 17.46.

Cowen began research on Virgin Galactic on Monday, giving the stock an “outperform” rating and a target price of $ 22. That means the company expects shares to rise 26 percent in the coming year.

Virgin Galactic's share price soared on the news of the company's potential reach

Virgin Galactic's share price soared on the news of the company's potential reach

Virgin Galactic is believed to be on track to outperform its rivals Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk's Space X to bring paying passengers into space.

Both Bezos and Musk took a different approach to Branson.

Bezos & # 39; model has no pilots in the capsule and is controlled from the ground.

Musk focuses on guiding a person around the moon. A Japanese billionaire paid $ 2 million for the opportunity and estimates it will go into space in 2023.