Richard Branson Sounds Alarm on Space Tourism, Will No Longer Pour Money Into Virgin Galactic

It’s the end of an era for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic as company shares plummeted on Monday upon the news that Branson would no longer be funding the project.

In an article published on Sunday in Britain’s Financial Times, Branson admitted that the Virgin Group doesn’t necessarily have “the deepest pockets” and ruled out putting any more money into the space exploration company.

“Virgin Galactic has got $1 billion, or nearly,” he told the outlet. “It should, I believe, have sufficient funds to do its job on its own.”

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As of Tuesday afternoon, Virgin Galactic shares were down nearly 59% year over year.

Virgin Galactic was founded by Branson in 2004 before going public in 2019 thanks to the help of a SPAC merger.

The company was under fire earlier this summer for the timing of its announcement of its first space tourism flight, just days after the implosion of the Titan Submersible, which left five tourists dead.

Between 2018 and 2022 alone, it is estimated that Virgin Galactic generated $1.5 billion in operating losses. The company cut 18% of its staff in November.

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Still, the company is continuing to sell tickets for $450,000 to those interested in traveling on a space tourism mission following a successful first launch in August 2023.