In an excellent example of why pre-order pricing sometimes works, Virgin Galactic has set official ticket prices for a trip to the edge of space on board one of Richard Branson’s hybrid airplane rocket things. If you’d taken advantage of initial pricing, before anyone was wholly certain it was possible, you’d have paid R2.9 million (at today’s exchange rates), or $200,000.
But now you’re stuck paying a little over R6.5 million to ride the rich man’s rocket — which is a certainly almost reasonable (if you’re a wealthy American) $450,000 a pop.
Paying the price for Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic head Michael Colglazier said, “Leveraging the surge in consumer interest following the Unity 22 flight, we are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today, beginning with our Spacefarer community.”
“As we endeavour to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience, ” he went on to say. The attendant price increase wasn’t exactly unexpected but it does put a trip more than 80km up in the air even further out of the reach of the average person.
Still, if you’ve got the money for it (and are in Virgin Galactic’s Spacefarer community) you might get a paid flight… as soon as the 600 people in front of you have their turn. September this year might see the company (finally) officially make money with a trip for the Italian Air Force (which will cost $600,000 per person) that will carry three passengers and a few scientific experiments. They might get to call themselves astronauts. Maybe.
Just about everyone else, whether they’re paying big money for tickets or getting them for free, probably won’t be permitted to claim that honour, unless they successfully pilot a failing craft away from a small town or something equally heroic while they’re up there.
Source: The Verge