To date, Virgin Galactic has invested $1 billion of capital to build reusable human spaceflight systems designed to enable significantly more people to experience and utilize space. In July, the company announced its intent to become a publicly-listed entity via a business combination with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. The Boeing investment will be in return for new shares in Virgin Galactic and is therefore contingent on the closing of that transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, and any such investment will be in the post-business combination company.
This investment brings together two companies with extensive experience in the space industry. Virgin Galactic is a pioneer of commercial human space flight and is the first and only company to have put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service, having built and flown a Mach 3 passenger vehicle. Through its manufacturing and development capabilities, Virgin Galactic can design, build, test, and operate a fleet of advanced aerospace vehicles.
A part of every U.S. manned space program, Boeing serves as NASA's prime contractor for the International Space Station (ISS) and is preparing the new, reusable, Starliner space capsule for launch to the ISS.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, added that this is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight program. Virgin Galactic and Boeing share a vision of opening access to the world and space, to more people, in safe and environmentally responsible ways.
Brian Schettler, Senior Managing Director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures, said that the company's strategic investment facilitates the firm's effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation. Boeing's work with Virgin Galactic, and others, will help unlock the future of space travel and high-speed mobility.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret, noted that the unique expertise of the two companies stretches from points all around the world to the deepest reaches of space. Together, this will change how people travel on Earth, and among the stars, for generations to come.
George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, remarked that the company is excited to partner with Boeing to develop something that can truly change how people move around the planet and connect with one another. Virgin Galactic's focus will be on a safe and unparalleled customer experience, with environmental responsibility to the fore.