Boeing will invest $20 million in Virgin Galactic

Aerospace group Boeing will invest $20 million in Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic when the company goes public later this year, beginning what the two sides said would be a new collaboration in the scramble for space tourism. The partnership announced yesterday came three months after Virgin Galactic agreed to merge into a US-listed cash shell launched by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, as it ramps up its effort to send customers on 90-minute rides to the edge of space. Boeing’s investment, which is contingent on the merger closing, will be made out of its HorizonX Ventures start-up investment arm and comes with a promise to work together. Boeing is already heavily into space exploration, serving as a main contractor for Nasa’s Space Launch System for future manned flights into deep space, and working on a reusable space capsule to the International Space Station. The partnership gives Boeing a stake in a potentially lucrative race targeting the wealthiest tourists. Virgin Galactic is the only private company to send people to the edge of space in commercial vehicles, making it a leader in a field in competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. 

Bethan Staton 

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