Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group founded Virgin Galactic in 2004. Branson is also the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Virgin Galactic falls under the Virgin Group and has the goal of providing spaceships to ferry civilians to space in the name of science and space tourism.
Branson and Bruck Rutan founded the Spaceship Company in 2005 to build spacecraft to be used by Virgin Galactic. The first craft, SpaceShipOne could carry one passenger and two pilots.
In December of 2009, Branson unveiled the StarShip2, a rocket plane that could carry passengers to just above the atmosphere.
SS2 would launch from a base in New Mexico initially, before expanding worldwide in the future.
The SS2 is based on the Ansari X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne concept. The craft is made of lightweight carbon-composite materials and powered by a hybrid rocket motor.
SS2 is much bigger then it’s predecessor SS1. Where SS1 only had enough room for one passenger and two crew, the SS2 has a crew of two, but enough room for 6 passengers. A ticket aboard the SS2 cost $250,000 and has attracted a variety of wealthy individuals.
Virgin Galactic went public in late 2019 under the stock symbol SPCE. The company hopes to launch its first customers into space in early 2020.