London-ALSHARQIYA July 14: The trip of British billionaire, Richard Branson, has unleashed again for space tourism, after the Virgin Galactic spaceflight company intends to launch ticket sales for its flights in early autumn.
The Wall Street Journal said space tourism could generate nearly $4 billion in annual revenue by 2030, according to a UBS Group estimate last year.
Branson's final 90-minute flight was a crucial marketing moment for space tourism after years of slow progress and setbacks, as a devastating 2014 launch led to the death of a Virgin crew member.
In the next few months, two more flights are scheduled to take off, one manned by Virgin Galactic crew and a second carrying members of the Italian Air Force.
From next year, Virgin's commercial space flights will begin, aiming to increase the number of flights to about 400 flights annually from various space stations.
Virgin says it aims to have $1 billion for every spaceport it builds.
And on Monday, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its approval of the "Blue Origin" company's first flight into space, where former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is scheduled to be on board.
The Wall Street Journal notes that both Branson and Bezos are working to expand access to space beyond governments and research missions — at least to the few high-net-worth individuals who can afford it.
Since last March, Virgin already has 600 bookings for similar space flights, with an average price of $250,000 per trip, while the investment group UPS estimates that the prices of flights will rise to between $300,000 and $400,000 for a single ticket.
"I think and hope we've shown the world today that it will be possible to see this planet from space," Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazer said Sunday.
"The volume that we were able to share with the world through this live broadcast was really important," he added after Branson's trip, the owner of the giant Virgin company, noting that the launch of ticket sales for space flights again will be in late this summer or early next fall at the latest.
In 2014, billionaire Virgin Galactic founder Branson stuck to his space tourism venture after the company's spacecraft crashed after launch in California, killing a company employee.
Branson, 70, has waited 17 years since founding his company in 2004, which aims primarily to enable tourists to sign up for paid space flights.