Besides this high amount of the investment, the partnership could also lead to a space-centric entertainment center in Saudi Arabia.
“Pleased Saudi Arabia intends to invest $1B in our space companies,” Richard Branson tweeted.
Richar Branson’s vision is to commercialize access to space.
With this amount of money, Saudi Arabia is making Richard Branson’s space tourism dreams a reality. Branson says the move would give the country “a significant stake” in the Virgin companies.
The contract is described as a “partnership on spaceflight, satellite launch, and space-centric entertainment.” It is backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
So, the venture will fuel three Virgin companies – Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit.
So, Mr. Branson will split the funds between the Virgin’s space tourism, spacecraft and rocket vehicle manufacturing companies. The kingdom also includes an option for an additional $480 million.
“This investment will enable us to develop the next generation of human spaceflight, more economic satellite launches and accelerate [its] program for trans-continental point-to-point space travel,” Branson said in a statement.
“This partnership with Virgin Group reflects the great strides the Kingdom is making towards our vision for a diversified, knowledge-based economy,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a statement.
Branson also created Virgin Orbit. A company that will build air-launched rockets to send dozens of small satellites into orbit.
However, Sir. Branson has revealed that Virgin Galactic is just months away from sending people into space. However, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system is still in development.
“We are now just months away from Virgin Galactic sending people into space and Virgin Orbit placing satellites around the Earth,” Branson said.
The company is in its final stages of testing the Boeing 747-400 launcher. The rocket’s first test flight might be ready in the early next year.
Thumbnail Image: Artist’s rendering of a space-centric entertainment center in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Virgin Galactic