by Jeannette Di Louie
Back in March, I mourned the passing of the New York City Virgin Megastore. But, while that cultural icon’s passing filled me with a certain nostalgia for the good-old-days, I noted that the larger Virgin Group wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, since it has a hand in just about every sector out there from transportation to media to finance to technology.
And each of those categories can be broken down a few times over still. With such an expansive reach, you might as well just think of it as a British General Electric (NYSE: GE).
Back in late 2007, the Virgin network expanded further by launching Virgin America, an airline branch that flies from one major U.S. city to the next.
And now, the larger corporation is doing it again, though this time in a much more daring way. We might have had to say goodbye to one Virgin branch this year, but according to Will Whitehorn, within the next two years, the world will be formally introduced to a new branch… one that’s on the cutting edge of technology this time.
Since Will Whitehorn is the president of the established but not yet fully operative Virgin Galactic, he would know. So naturally, he stands as an extremely reliable source when he says that his business has already collected $40 million in deposits for upcoming ventures into space.
For a company that hasn’t actually launched any products yet, that isn’t half bad.
That comes from 300 bookings from people willing to pay $200,000 each, an admittedly pricey amount, But as more people sign on and technology advances, who knows? It could only cost $100,000 some day!
Right now though, that money hasn’t paid for any actual customers to go up, up and away just yet. Using technology that Virgin claims is less environmentally hazardous than traditional rockets, the company is in the process of running test flights and battling for a license from the Federal Aviation Authority.
After completing both, Whitehouse points out, the technology could go far beyond mere tourism purposes. Larger scientific ventures, computer server farms above the earth, replacing long-haul flights… you name it. The world is theirs, and they’re aiming to lay a claim to space now as well.
Disclosure: No positions