- Boeing Co. has agreed to invest $20 million in Virgin Galactic for a minority stake, a company that is planning next year to bring its customers into space.
- The investment by Boeing is “a catalyst for wider cooperation and deeper collaboration,” said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic Chief Executive.
Boeing Co. has agreed to invest $20 million in Virgin Galactic for a minority stake, a company that is planning next year to bring its customers into space.
The partnership was structured as a collaboration to shape the future of human space exploration, the firms said Tuesday in a statement. Virgin Galactic also sets long-term sights on high-speed airline flights around the world— a mode of transportation that will take years to reach.
The contract places businesses to explore the airline travel industry at hypersonic speeds above the Earth’s atmosphere, slicing to two hours or fewer trips across the globe. Already announced plans for such flights in the future through Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
The investment by Boeing is “a catalyst for wider cooperation and deeper collaboration,” said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic Chief Executive.
The future of high-speed airline travel, he said in an interview, is “a large chessboard” with various technical, technological and financial problems to solve. “We can really start digging into some of these things that need to be put in place.” Boeing will make the investment with its HorizonX Ventures arm to support the U.K.-based space company founded by billionaire Richard Branson. Next year, as part of the commercial crew initiative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Boeing will send its first commercial space customers— astronauts— to the International Space Station.
“We got the question,’ Why this timing now? said Brian Schettler, HorizonX Ventures senior managing director. “Indeed, on both sides we see this amazing, momentous potential” approaching the first customer flights to space by the companies.
Boeing’s investment depends on Virgin Galactic going public by year-end as part of a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp., retaining a 49 percent stake in the merged venture. The deal revealed in July to bring the Virgin Galactic public was designed to raise around $800 million for Branson’s company.
Social capital rose from 10:22 a.m. by 1.1 million to $11.05. In New York, since hitting its intraday peak by 2.7 percent after going public about two years ago. Boeing dropped to $369.97 by 1.7 percent as the wider market slumped on increased trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
Last year, after the assassination of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, Branson ended talks about a $1 billion investment in Virgin from Saudi Arabia.
Social Capital, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, is a special purpose company that in September 2017 raised $600 million with an initial public offering of “blank check.”
“This is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight program,” Branson said in the statement.