Richard Branson’s private space company, Virgin Galactic as well as The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit recently received a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia. And no, this time, it isn’t some donation. The funds will be channelled towards Virgin’s planned space tourism program. The sovereign fund also has an option of further investing an additional $480 million.
As of now, no information on which of the 3 companies would receive the bulk of the funds. Virgin Galactic is Richard Branson’s company which focuses on the human spaceflight program where it will allow tourists to get a taste of space. The plan is to launch a plane from an aircraft carrier and take people to space for a few minutes for them to experience zero gravity.
Another plan of Branson is to utilise space technology in Earth, basically to bring people across the earth using spaceships within minutes. This is similar to Elon Musk’s plan for a Big Freaking Rocket idea as well where passengers will be catapulted across the earth in a rocket in minutes.
The investment comes from the country’s move away from fully depending on oil and its goal of building a more diverse economy. This is part of their Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.