Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. said Thursday it is selling seats on its space-tourism flights, with each spot starting at $450,000, thanks to a “surge in consumer interest” following its July suborbital flight.

Virgin Galactic
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said its “private astronaut market” will have three offerings: a single seat; a multi-seat package for couples, friends or families; and a full-flight buyout. The price starts at $450,000 a seat.

“As we endeavor to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience,” Chief Executive Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

In July, Virgin’s founder Richard Branson and five crewmates flew to suborbital space on the company’s VSS Unity rocket-powered spacecraft.

The stock jumped more than 5% in the extended session Thursday despite a wider-than-expected quarterly loss for the space company.

Virgin reported a second-quarter loss of $94 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with a loss of $72 million, or 34 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. FactSet consensus called for a loss of 33 cents a share for the quarter.

It also reported revenue of $571,000, above consensus of revenue of $300,000.

Virgin Galactic said it first open seats to its “significant list of early hand-raisers,” with a follow-on priority list to be open for those interested in reserving seats in future spaceflights.

Wall Street has estimated that space tourism will grow to a $8 billion market by 2030, with Virgin its “leader.”

Virgin’s next spaceflight is targeted for late September, the company said. As previously disclosed, the flight will be a paid mission for the Italian Air Force.

The company said it ended the quarter a “strong” cash position, with cash and equivalents of $552 million at the end of June.

Virgin said it continues to experience delays to its business and operations due to COVID-19, and that it continues to operate under strict health protocols.

The stock has gained about 35% so far this year, compared with gains of around 18% for the S&P 500 index
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