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.
“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.