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Want to Go to Space? Virgin Galactic Will Launch First Commercial Flight in June, Aiming For Monthly Flights After August Virgin Galactic announced its first commercial flight will take off in a launch window of June 27 to June 30.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Patrick T. Fallon | Getty Images
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson.

Richard Branson's space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, is set to launch its first commercial flight this month, planning to take off between June 27 and June 30, the company announced on Thursday.

The first commercial spaceflight, "Galactic 01," is a scientific research mission and will carry three crew members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council of Italy to conduct microgravity research.

Following the announcement, stock for Virgin Galactic surged over 40% in extended trading on Thursday and is up nearly 34% year-to-date as of Friday afternoon.

Related: Virgin Galactic Just Opened Space Flights to the Public. Here's How Much It Will Cost You.

However, the space tourism company, founded in 2004, has faced a series of hardships over the past few years, marked mostly by consistent financial losses. Between 2018 and 2022, the company generated $12.5 million in revenue and $1.5 billion in operating losses, per the Wall Street Journal. In 2021, Branson himself sold about $300 million worth of Virgin Galactic stock shares, reducing his stake by nearly 75%.

In April, Virgin Orbit (Branson's other space company that specializes in satellite launches) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy following a failed launch attempt in early 2023, and the company's inability to secure long-term funding.

Nonetheless, things might finally be looking up (literally) for the space company.

After the planned launch of Galactic 01, "Galactic 02" is intended to launch in early August, and the company aims to have monthly commercial flights after that. By the end of 2022, Virgin Galactic had about 800 reservations, each seat on a spaceflight costing $450,000 a pop.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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