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Private space tourism goes public

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Virgin Galactic will be the first private space tourism company to go public Description video: Virgin Galactic was set to start trading at the NYSE on Monday. CNBC’s Bob Pisani gives a preview. Private space tourism goes public Virgin Galactic, […]

Virgin Galactic will be the first private space tourism company to go public

Description video:
Virgin Galactic was set to start trading at the NYSE on Monday. CNBC’s Bob Pisani gives a preview.

Private space tourism goes public

Virgin Galactic, the first privately held space tourism company, begins trading on the NYSE on Monday.

Shareholders approved the merger of Virgin Galactic with special purpose venture capitalist Hamat Palihapitiya. The space tourism company will be listed directly on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, according to data from the SEC..

This makes Virgin Galactic the first private space travel company to trade on the public market..

The merger was announced in July this year when Palihapitiya’s Social Capital acquired 49% of Virgin Galactic. As a result of the merger, the combined company is now valued at $ 1.5 billion. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, retains a 51% majority stake.

Hamata Palihapitiya’s company is already listed on the NYSE under the ticker «IPOA». The company expects to complete its merger with Virgin on Friday, the company said in a statement. After that, the shares will be traded under the ticker «SPCE» on NYSE on Monday.

Private space tourism goes public

Branson hinted to CNBC in an interview last week that Virgin Galactic will make its public debut soon. Branson said that «not long left» during the presentation by the company of its Under Armor collection of space clothing.

Virgin Galactic spacecraft can carry up to six passengers,  including two pilots, to the edge of space. The spacecraft is jettisoned and launches a rocket engine that is three times the speed of sound as it climbs through Earth’s atmosphere. Then the spacecraft and its passengers hover in zero gravity for several minutes, after which they descend again to land..

Virgin Galactic’s flight costs about $ 250,000 per passenger and has a list of 603 customers waiting to fly..

Special Purpose Enterprises, known as SPACs, raise capital to buy an existing company. In the case of Social Capital Hedosophia, SPAC Palihapitiya buys just under half of the company to help it go public..