Virgin Galactic’s good press

You can say one thing about Virgin Galactic: they’re good about generating press (and good press, at that), even when they have little new to report. On Friday runs an article about the company’s business plans, based on an interview with company vice president Alex Tai. There are some interesting items in here, including Tai’s statement that he anticipates Virgin Galactic spending $225-250 million by the time the company begins commercial operations. And as for what they’ll be offering: “We’ll be giving them a really sexy training experience… I don’t think we’re in danger of under-delivery.”

The Guardian has an extended article on Virgin Galactic and its Founders, its elite initial group of customers. (The reporter has a rather extreme fascination with one of them, Victoria Principal. “Perhaps it’s my age. I can’t get the picture out of my mind of the former Dallas beauty, three decades on, a few husbands down the line, floating in space.” As you might guess, this will not end well.) The article is primarily a series of character portraits of a number of Founders.

While many of the Founders are wealthy enough to easily afford the $200,000 ticket price, others aren’t: the article profiles one, Lina Borozdina, who (with her husband) remortgaged her house to afford the price of the trip. “Virgin has always had an eye for a great story. Despite the fact that there were more than 13,000 applicants, they were determined that Lina would be a founder. Now she faces the next 30 years mortgaged to the hilt. Does she ever think she’s made the wrong decision? ‘Absolutely. I’m a worry bird 24/7.'”

And then there’s the case of Princess Beatrice, the 18-year-old daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, who has agreed to fly on a Virgin Galactic flight at some point. She was persuaded by her boyfriend, David Clark, who works in the sales and marketing department of Virgin Galactic. Whether she’ll pay for her own ticket wasn’t disclosed.

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