Virgin Galactic inks a deal with NASA to help train private astronauts
Virgin Galacticsaid Monday it's signed a deal with NASAto train astronauts and support spacemissions.
- Investors cheered the
news, sending shares higher by as much as 20%.
- Virgin is actively taking reservations for private flights as it races with SpaceX to send tourists to space.
Shares of Virgin Galactic surged Monday after the company announced a deal with NASA to train astronauts for missions to the International Space Station.According to a press release, the agreement allows Virgin to develop a "new private orbital astronaut readiness program" to vet potential astronauts, train them, and, eventually, get them to the ISS.
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Ahead of those spaceflights, Virgin Galactic's suborbital SpaceShipTwo system, which is priced at about $250,000 per flight, could help acclimate private astronauts prepare for an orbital mission. An up-and-down flight in SpaceShipTwo would acclimate them to launching aboard a rocket-powered vehicle, experiencing a few minutes of weightlessness, and going through high-speed descent and landing.Virgin Galactic stock rose as much as 20% after Monday's announcement.
So far, Virgin has met just a few of the FAA's 29 validation steps left before it can launch customers.
"The words 'many companies have tried' is music to my ears," Whitesides told Business Insider in a June interview. "People said you couldn't build a human spaceflight company. People said we couldn't go public."
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