back to article Virgin Galactic delays commercial suborbital flights again

Virgin Galactic (VG) is once again delaying its commercial service, shifting the expected launch of well-to-do space tourists from the first three months of 2023 to Q2, amid widening losses for the business. On a call with investors yesterday, CEO Michael Colglazier blamed the delay on supply-chain woes and labor shortages, …

  1. pip25
    Meh

    They still haven't started yet?

    I know everything space-related is hard, but after their fully crewed flight a year ago, I would have though they didn't have that many boxes left to check. Silly me, I guess. Question is, how much money do they have left to burn?

    1. Spherical Cow

      Re: They still haven't started yet?

      "Question is, how much money do they have left to burn?"

      The article mentions $1.1 billion in cash and securities, plus $300 million to come from selling more shares.

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    how much money do they have left to burn?

    How many rich idiots are there?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      I do enjoy the Aesops fox in these “rich idiots” and the “fool and their money” banality comments.

      The idiots can pay for their suborbital flight, and still be a rich idiot afterwards. In fact they barely notice the outlay as over the wait for their flight, they have increased their wealth by many times the cost of the flight.

      How very stupid they are.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        "In fact they barely notice the outlay as over the wait for their flight, they have increased their wealth by many times the cost of the flight."

        Not necessarily. V few people are that rich. Quite a lot more are rich enough to afford this as a major expense, a once in a lifetime thing, etc. Or at the very least, to have to cut back on their supercar purchasing this year or whatever.

        Tickets are something like $500k, which is a hell of a lot of money, but not billionaires-only territory by a long shot.

  3. MiguelC Silver badge

    Meanwhile

    Bezos' "not trying to compensate anything" rocket-dick has just this week done it's 6st journey carrying space tourists while Musk's has been sending stuff and people upwards for a long time.

    Branson really needs to up his game if he wants to join the space multimillionaires big boys' table.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile

      Beardie cashed out a long time ago.

  4. IGotOut Silver badge

    VG announce another delay.

    World shugs shoulders and carries on.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Shameless

    People have to use foodbanks and even professionals like engineers are often one payslip away from being homeless.

    I guess Virgin is massively overcharging their customers if they can play around with spaceships. I mean how out of touch you have to be?

    This company completely lost its self awareness.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Shameless

      Virgin is not a single company. It is many companies. SpaceX is doing really well and people want to buy in but cannot because SpaceX already has the maximum number of investors that a private company is allowed. Every time Virgin Orbit puts something in orbit Virgin Galactic (completely separate) issues and sells more shares and Branson cashes out a little more.

      Other Virgin companies may or may not be overcharging their customers but they are not subsidising Virgin Galactic - which is quite capable of separating money from fools investors on their own.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Shameless

        Is Virgin Galactic even Virgin anymore? I though Clamath's disastrous SPAC bought it ?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Shameless

          All of the Virgin companies are basically paying licence fees to use the name and branding. Some were started by Branson, others he bought into. Most he[*] will own some shares in, but rarely a controlling interest, often not many shares at all. In most cases, he slowly cashes out over time, rarely buying back in.

          One of the best examples is Virgin Media, a UK cable TV/ISP/Phone/Mobile P{hone company in the UK who at the time was actually NTL:Telewest who re-branded, paying to use the Virgin name. He used to own most of Virgin Mobile, but only ever owned a tiny amount of Virgin Media. The Virgin Media deal was £10m per year licencing deal, originally for 10 years, plus some advertising and public appearance by Beardy. When VM bought Virgin Mobile, that was Beardy cashing out. VM are currently paying Virgin about £8.5m per year to licence the brand and name. Beardy owns no shares at all, VM was wholly owned by Liberty Media but are now in a partnership/merger with the O2 UK mobile network these days,

          Most of the "Virgin" companies have similar histories

          [*] well, not Branson, but his off-shore holding company.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: Shameless

            All of the Virgin companies are basically paying licence fees to use the name and branding.

            That's how early tax avoidance schemes worked. It's probably no longer legal or restricted for the rich only who know how to get around it.

            Basically you set up an IP holding company in a tax haven and then charge your other companies licence fees to use the name and branding. The charges usually take a good chunk of revenue which then becomes tax free as IP holding company won't pay tax on profits made offshore.

            If you wanted to set up a structure like this today, you'd face a wall. Jurisdictions will ask you to file a disclaimer that your offshore company is not holding IP and you risk severe fines.

            I have zero sympathy for these leeches.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: Shameless

              None of what you have said is true or correct. It's a ridiculous conspiracy theory, straight from Facetube videos.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Shameless

        Yes, created on the back of other companies overcharging and "optimising taxes".

        If only this was available to everyone, not just a selection of privileged white men.

  6. A. Coatsworth
    IT Angle

    Science?

    >>private science and research clients (expected to take 100 of the first 1,000 seats)

    What science can be achieved from a 10 minutes flight that doesn't even reach the Kármán line? Other than how to make half a million dollars disappear, of course.

    Edit: Ok. Wikipedia informs me that the passengers experienced 4 minutes of weightlessness in the previous flight, which is kind of impressive when compared to the Vomit Comet's 30 seconds... but do they have any room to maneuver inside the ship?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Science?

      Vomit Comet gets you multiple 30 second drops for each ~$5000 ticket. 4 minutes of continuous microgravity may be more useful for testing some ISS/Orion life support kit than a Comet ride. Also "for science" might mean you can call your joy ride a business expense.

      If you are near death then by all means enjoy a Comet ride if that is on your bucket list. If you can wait decades for Virgin Galactic to get through their existing customer list then Starship will offer far more for a similar cost to a Comet.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Science?

      If someone wants to experience weightlessness they could just eat less and gone on one of Virgin islands and take a dip in the pool.

      Seriously trashing planet with emissions, squeezing workers only to have some rich fat slob feel for 4 minutes how it would have been if they had not consumed so much earth's resources.

      How they don't see it's not a good look at all?

  7. adam 40 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Won't they fly to Paris?

    Errrmmm - not again!

  8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    How far can it glide?

    Could this be a fast trip anywhere or is it not capable of any real range other than up and down?

  9. david 12 Silver badge

    How far could the flight get?

    I understand that they leave and return to New Mexico, with a flight time of 2.5 hours. If, instead, they landed somewhere else, how far would they get?

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: How far could the flight get?

      "I understand that they leave and return to New Mexico, with a flight time of 2.5 hours. If, instead, they landed somewhere else, how far would they get?"

      Most of the time is getting the stack to the release altitude. From drop to landing is a very short period of time spent going moderately straight up and then down again. If distance was the goal, the spaceship might go a pretty considerable distance if flying horizontally didn't overspeed the airframe. The mothership would still need to fly to meet it again to take it home for a new fuel grain and a fresh dose of nitrous oxide. It's really a one-trick pony. Point to point travel isn't something it would be very good at.

  10. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge

    I can not help to wonder what was the actual status of the rocket that launched the first flight?

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "I can not help to wonder what was the actual status of the rocket that launched the first flight?"

      The first spaceship was lost in an accident that killed the co-pilot and severely injured the pilot. The status is it's in a big load of pieces somewhere if it hasn't been disposed of.

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