Virgin Galactic reopens its books

SpaceShipTwo Unity relocates to Virgin Galactic headquarters at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

With Virgin Galactic getting closer to liftoff, luxury travelers looking for the ultimate in adventure have another shot at getting on the list for a trip to space.

Richard Branson's space tourism line last week said it has started taking new deposits for its quarter-million-dollar-per-person flights from New Mexico's Spaceport America.

The company says wannabe astronauts can register at www.virgingalactic.com/smallstep/ and put down a fully refundable deposit of $1,000 that will push them to the front of the line when it opens its next round of ticket sales. Virgin Galactic has yet to disclose when those tickets will go on sale.

Virgin Galactic team welcome SpaceShipTwo to its home at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Virgin Galactic team welcome SpaceShipTwo to its home at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic said the pool of qualified  applicants will be augmented by those who apply through its accredited network of luxury advisors, or "space agents."

In the Americas, Virtuoso since 2006 has been the company's largest retail sales channel and certification agent for Virgin Galactic. Its chairman, Matthew Upchurch, is also a "Founder" astronaut, meaning he will be one of the first 84 people to take one of Virgin Galactic's space flights.

The company hasn't said how much the new round of tickets will cost, but in the past they have gone for a reported $250,000.

Also unclear is when Virgin Galactic will start flying paying passengers.

But after nearly a decade of delays, the company and its spaceship, the VSS Unity, have completed their move from testing grounds in the Mojave Desert to their new home at the spaceport in southern New Mexico, where they will wrap up final testing.

If all goes as planned, Branson has said he expects to rocket into space this year.

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