Boeing, one of the main manufacturers of transport for passengers to fly in is now investing in the next frontier of passenger travel. The company’s Boeing HorizonX Ventures has invested US$ 20 Million in Virging Galactic, a vertically integrated human spaceflight company. The two companies will work together to broaden commercial space access and transform global travel technologies. To date Virgin Galactic has invested US$ 1 Billion to build reusable human spaceflight systems designed to enable significantly more people to experience and utilize space. In July, the company announced its intent to become a publicly-listed entity via a business combination with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. The Boeing investment will be in return for new shares in Virgin Galactic and is therefore contingent on the closing of that transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, and any such investment will be in the post-business combination company.
The investment has brought together two companies with extensive experience in the space industry. Virgin Galactic is a pioneer of commercial human space flight. It is the first and only company to have put humans into space. The vehicle built by them can travel at a speed of Mach 3 and carry passengers. Virgin Galactic can design, build, test, and operate a fleet of advanced aerospace vehicles using its manufacturing and development capabilities. On the other hand, Boeing has unsurpassed experience transporting people into orbit having partnered in several US government projects. They also have experience building and operating large structures in the challenging environment of space. Boeing has been a part of every U.S. manned space program. It also serves as NASA’s prime contractor for the International Space Station (ISS) and is preparing the new, reusable, Starliner space capsule for launch to the ISS.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret, said “the unique expertise of our companies stretches from points all around the world to the deepest reaches of space. Together we will change how people travel on Earth, and among the stars, for generations to come.” While, George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, noted: “we are excited to partner with Boeing to develop something that can truly change how people move around the planet and connect with one another. As a Virgin company, our focus will be on a safe and unparalleled customer experience, with environmental responsibility to the fore.”