Virgin Galactic Confirms $200,000 Price For 5 Minutes Of Weightlessness

In what could either end up as either a key moment in the history of space travel or a snapshot of one really, really rich man’s intergalactic folly, bearded billionaire Richard Branson was on hand in New Mexico for a ceremony to celebrate work being done on the first Virgin Galactic spaceport.

The dedication of Spaceport America, the first facility in the world designed specifically to launch commercial spacecraft, comes hot on the heels of a successful test flight of the ship Virgin Galactic intends to use for its flights.

Said Branson at the ceremony, also attended by New Mexico governor Bill Richardson:

Today is very personal as our dream becomes more real… People are beginning to believe now. I think the drop flight two weeks ago, which went beautifully, I think it made people sit up and realize this is really reality.

Each flight we make, we’ll learn more, we’ll experience, we’ll open up more opportunities that we cannot even conceive of today… This history, we’re making it right now.

After much speculation, Virgin confirmed on Friday that seats on suborbital trips aboard SpaceShipTwo will go for $200,000 each. For that, you get 2.5 hours on the rocketship thingy, but only about 5 minutes of weightlessness.

The company says that 380 customers have already made deposits totaling more than $50 million for trips on board Virgin Galactic flights, which could begin as soon as 9-18 months from now.

No word on whether or not there will be a checked-bag fee.

Branson opens spaceport runway [Sydney Morning-Herald via Jaunted]

Comments

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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Hooray, now the Cylons have a place to park their Raiders!

  2. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Umm… breaks ground? The runway is finished.

  3. BK88 says:

    Umm… the runway is complete, as the video shows. Ground was broken a looooong time ago. You might want to change the headline. http://www.gizmag.com/spaceport-america-breaks-ground/12081/

  4. SonarTech52 says:

    Virgin breaks ground today.. so that means today is June 19th… sweet, my birthday is coming soon!

  5. Etoiles says:

    I’m really glad that Branson is this particular kind of crazy.

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    What’s that translate out/compare to in the cost of tickets to Great Adventure to ride El Toro, or any other roller coaster/park which offers some weightless/negative G time?

  7. Scuba Steve says:

    If I won the lottery I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Hell if I had a successful business I’d save up for it.

    Beats a fancy car in my book.

  8. Hoss says:

    Sounded impressive until I saw the craft — looks like three airplanes welded together

  9. clownsRcreepy says:

    Is it just me, or does Virgin Galactic sound like some kind of Catholic superhero?

  10. outshined says:

    Worth every single penny.

  11. yessongs says:

    Now if Zephriam Cochran would only invent the warp drive….

  12. Duckula22 says:

    There should be a clause that requires spoiled SOBs with a huge sense of entitlement (basically all of them future Virgin’s clients) to donate an amount at least equal to the flight ticket price to a charity of their choice. What a way to waste useful resources! Jeez :/

    • Brink006 says:

      You’re the type that gives the political left a terrible name.

      • Duckula22 says:

        Maybe, but it’s interesting how it took only of few lines I wrote for you to know me so well, anyway… I’m not going to troll here, but it would be nice if you would be more specific as to what parts of my previous comment were so outrageous. Was it the forced clause to make people give to compensate for their wastefulness? Or do you not agree this is a waste of resources? As for political sides go, I’m neither.

        • Doubts42 says:

          It is because fascists like you and the rest of the far left want to dictate how people spend their own money and time.
          And as far as a waste of resources, how? Space exploration and the research from it have yielded incredible advances in all fields of technology, from medicine to construction and transportation. The difference here is that these wealthy adventurers are paying for those advances with their tickets instead of NASA developing them with all of our tax dollars.

          In other words, “You sir are an idiot. “

          • Duckula22 says:

            It’s pleasure trips we’re talking about.

            And besides, I was not serious with my proposition, I knew before I posted something like this will never be done, because it’s too radical, it was only to show what my displeasure is with what rich people are willing to do, just because they’ve got the dough.

            BTW, it’s easy to insult somebody you don’t know (never will) hiding in the internet. It takes zero balls actually.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          if you have an iThing of any sort, give money to somebody needy right now.

          First off, nobody should be forced to do much of anything. Secondly, there are some folks that have jobs thanks to that money and some of the money gets sent back to the gov. via taxes, that goes to having roads, some social services.

          and C.) your idea of waste and others’ idea are different. That iThing that I mentioned above, complete waste in my eyes and we all know it shouldn’t have cost whatever was paid for it.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Think of it this way: Did the first airplanes just waste a bunch of money? The first steamships? The first railroads? Many of these forms of transport were only for the wealthy. Yes, they did get from point A to point B, while these flights bring you right back, but we’re also right at the beginning stages of real manned space travel. To the moon was like the first wooden ships to reach the Americas, and now we’re finally trading sails for an engine.

      The fact is, there don’t seem to be any governments seriously pushing this kind of technology, but we really need it. No, not for survival, but for hope. People need to get excited for the future again, like they did in the first space race.

      It seems like a waste now, but that’s because it’s new so start up costs are high. To be honest, I’d rather see rich people spend their money on this instead of yet *another* luxury car to stash in their multi-level garages. They are our “early adopters” and they will pay the way for the rest of the world to have access to a whole wealth of technology in the future.

  13. QrazyQat says:

    Tell you what, Consumerist, you find me a cheaper spaceflight and I’ll take that instead.

  14. TehLlama says:

    For those balking at the $200,000 price tag – flying on the first spacecraft will be expensive. On the second, third, fourth and so on – not so much.

    Once it drops below 10k per person, I’m taking my wife.

  15. Minj says:

    Very awesome. The commercial space race will be great for everyone. This is just the start.

  16. OnePumpChump says:

    Gotta get it up to a reasonable length of time for fucking, including acclimating oneself to weightlessness enough to do it.

  17. sonneillon says:

    I can pay a biker named Paul 20 bucks to carry me around for 15 minutes.

  18. rudy.elgato says:

    Pppffffttttt….. This ain’t spaceflight… This is just flying up really high, peaking in a zero gravity maneuver, and then dropping back down. They’ve been doing this on the vomit comet for decades. Big frickin deal.

    Spaceflight should be faaaassst… X15 fasssstttt…. Irks me to think how flippin close we were to having real rocket planes back in the ’60s. Now $200,000 for a ride on something like the X15…. whoaaaa momma….

  19. Blueskylaw says:

    “After years of effort, the first commercial tour service to offer zero-gravity airplane flights in the United States is finally open for business. For just under $3,000, regular folks can get a tamed-down taste of what astronauts feel on NASA’s “Vomit Comet.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5992077/ns/technology_and_science-space/

  20. econobiker says:

    How much you want to bet that the same guys who rent full size vans for filming certain adult themed videos are the first to eXploit this offer- with emphasis on the X?

    Space P0RN here we come, er is that kome, or coum, or ckome, or …. ?

  21. mandy_Reeves says:

    so do they actually leave the earths orbit or whatever? like will you be in space? like astronaut type space???

    I am looking at a big inheritance in the next 5 years or so…hopefully the price drops and the kinks are worked out then. I wanna do it in space on my 10th anniversary in 5 years

  22. SWBLOOPERS says:

    Gee, I spent 20 minutes in zero G and it only cost me about $1,300! True story! Check out “Micro-G and Me” in Analog Magazine, Issue January 1996.

    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?118681

  23. msky says:

    I shoudl start saving now….

  24. prismatist says:

    If you knew anything about Virgin Galactic, you would know that it is about far more than pleasure trips. The lift platform they are using has three times the lift capability than what it is using for these initial passenger flights. They are planning to market the thing as a cheaper, much more efficient way of delivering satellites into orbit. It is even a viable launch platform for getting crew to and from the ISS now that the Shuttle is end-of-life.
    The spoiled SOBs, as you put it, are funding the much more cost- and resource-efficient future of space launch. When air travel was new and very expensive, there were plenty of fools that deemed it to be a pointless pursuit of the elite and that it had no place in a proper society. You are now promoting exactly the same foolish proposition.