New Space Reaches Final Frontier: Public Investing
Virgin Galactic, the first publicly traded commercial human spaceflight company
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November 4, 2019 - by Michael Bruno for aviationweek.com
To debut his latest business sensation—Virgin Galactic, the first publicly traded commercial human spaceflight company—Virgin founder Richard Branson could not have picked a better day.
As shares became available for mom-and-pop investors under the stock ticker SPCE on Oct. 28, the S&P 500 stock index flirted with a record high.
"It's a very big milestone," Branson told reporters from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. "If the public wants to own a little bit of a spaceship company, they can now do so."
But first Branson and others will reap the rewards.
Branson has guided investment of more than $1 billion into Virgin Galactic since 2004. Next is Chamath Palihapitiya, the Facebook veteran and founder of investment group Social Capital Hedosophia, whose $800 million investment announced July 8 made the Virgin Galactic initial public offering (IPO) possible.
Then there is Boeing, which could gain undetermined benefits as it invests $20 million and partners with Virgin Galactic to pursue point-to-point commercial hypersonic passenger service.
"This is a terrific endorsement and a transformational capital infusion that enables us to go full speed ahead toward our goals of commercial service and building additional spaceships," Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides tells Aviation Week.
Executives say they should have enough funds to...
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