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'Have We Not Learned Anything': Virgin Galactic Slammed For Announcing Commercial Flights Days After Titan Submersible Implosion Virgin Galactic is set to launch its first space tourism flight on Thursday out of New Mexico.

By Emily Rella

Getty Images

Richard Branson's space exploration company Virgin Galactic has officially announced its first space tourism mission, which will see Italian Air Force Colonel Walter Villadei and his colleagues Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Landolf and research council member Pantaleone Carlucci, travel 50 miles into the atmosphere from New Mexico.

The flight is planned to be around 90 minutes and will launch on Thursday, June 29.

Dubbed "Galactic 01," the mission is meant to be a scientific research mission, not one purely for commercial entertainment. The company is also advertising $450,000 tickets for tourist flights to space that require a $10,000 credit card authorization on the spot.

Related: Want to Go to Space? Virgin Galactic Will Launch First Commercial Flight in June, Aiming For Monthly Flights After August

"This is your opportunity to be among the founding Virgin Galactic astronauts. Your reservation includes more than a spaceflight," the website reads. "You'll enjoy a Future Astronaut community membership, a multi-day training and preparation retreat at Spaceport America with family and friends, bespoke flightwear, astronaut insignia, photographs and video, opportunities to give back to future generations and more."

Though this is a major feat for Branson and his company, many on social media can't help but feel sour about the timing of the commercial mission given the tragic implosion of the Titan submersible that was set to explore the Titanic wreckage and saw the death of five passengers.

Twitter users expressed dismay with the decision to push Thursday's mission and future commercial flights forward in light of the recent tragedy.

The commercial space flight company hasn't had a smooth ride, generating $1.5 billion in operating losses between 2018 and 2022.

Branson's satellite launch company, Virgin Orbit, officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to secure funding in April, estimating that it had roughly $153.5 million in debt at the time.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Virgin Galactic was up over 7.6% in a 24-hour period following the announcement of Thursday's flight.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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