SpaceShipTwo “Unity” on the runway after an abandoned space test on December 12, 2020.
A Virgin Group spokesman told CNBC that the company “intends to use the net proceeds from this sale to support its portfolio of global leisure, vacation and travel companies that continue to experience the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.” This is the second time Branson has sold Virgin Galactic shares to help Virgin Group as Last May he sold around $ 500 million of his stake.
Virgin Galactic continues work to complete development of the spacecraft it will use to fly people to the edge of space and back. The company suffered a setback in December when electromagnetic interference caused its most recent space experiment to be halted prematurely. The next attempt is expected in May.
The development delays have helped push back Virgin Galactic’s planned debut of its space tourism service CEO Michael Colglazier said the company doesn’t expect commercial flights to begin until early 2022.
Virgin Galactic expects to fly four more spaceflight tests with its VSS Unity spacecraft, including flying Branson this summer.