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‘A lot to prove’: Branson’s Virgin Galactic plummets on Wall Street

Virgin Galactic faces questions about the ultimate size of the suborbital tourism market and the competitive challenges, said Steven Jorgenson, general partner at Starbridge Venture Capital. Two well-funded rivals, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, plan to offer orbital flights.

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“You have a lot of uncertainties to juggle,” Jorgenson said in an email. “Virgin Galactic does seem to be a very competent company from a professional and engineering standpoint, but they still have a lot to prove as they have yet to actually fly their first customers.”

Virgin Galactic has a backlog of 600 customers who have placed deposits of as much as $US250,000 ($362,973) each to ride into space. Executives have said they expect to raise the fare once the company begins service and resumes taking reservations.

“Just like with most space companies, there’s a lot of hype around Virgin Galactic,” said Meagan Crawford, managing partner with SpaceFund, a venture capital fund in Texas.

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