Is a Virgin Galactic Lottery on the Horizon?

Credit: Douglas Messier
Credit: Douglas Messier

In a video interview with Business Insider, Richard Branson said that space travel will remain very expensive for the next decade, but that Virgin Galactic has an idea to allow people to fly very cheaply that it plans to unveil in about four months from now.

He refused to say any more, but the guys over at the Rocketeers blog are speculating that it would involve an official Virgin Galactic ticket lottery.

I’m thinking that’s a pretty good guess. I really can’t envision any other scenario that would significantly bring down the cost of a SpaceShipTwo ticket to make them affordable. Nor do I believe there’s any really inexpensive alternatives to SpaceShipTwo that Virgin Galactic has in the works.

You can view the video here.

  • newpapyrus

    Space Lotto systems are the only way Commercial Crew flights are going to be affordable for the average Jane and Joe. In theory, you could have several levels of winners in the Commercial Spaceflight industry created an international lotto system:

    Parabolic flights aboard a 747,

    sub-orbital flights aboard SpaceShipTwo,

    orbital flights aboard Commercial launch vehicles,

    and, eventually, flights to the lunar surface using commercial crew vehicles combined with reusable OTV and reusable lunar landing vehicles refueled at space depots within cis-lunar space.

    Marcel F. Williams

  • therealdmt

    I thought he was referring to a new [liquid-fueled?] engine his company was working on, combined with increased flight rates bringing down the fixed cost per flight, and maybe insurance costs dropping as operations proved safe and sustainable – plus maybe a financing mechanism (heck, if your gonna wait 10 or 15 years from sign up to flight, financing could be a BIG element).

    I always figured there be promotional giveaways and marketing tie-ins and such too,

    But an out and out lottery is a good idea — give the average Joe some hope! At the same time, you’re drumming up and sustaining interest…

  • dr

    The National Lottery in the UK is run by a company called Camelot. I am pretty sure that on both occasions that it has bid to run the lottery, it has been up against a proposal from Virgin Group. So Richard Branson wants to run a lottery of sorts. Maybe if he can’t get the National Lottery, he will have his own.

  • Hug Doug

    that would be a good way to reduce the cost overall, but it’s not going to happen within the next 4 months.

  • HyperJ

    Since the time scale for Virgin Galactic is so uncertain, this seems like a terrible idea. This should be organized when services actually start, to maximize PR benefit. Does VG really want more publicity when they know that they are going to have a hard time meeting their current target date?

  • Chris Courtois

    Perhaps, but an announcement of their intentions to do so could be done in 4 months… maybe by then they’ll have enough building blocks lined up to outline their plan.

  • Douglas Messier

    Four months would be roughly late January or early February. Branson was predicting a flight into space by SpaceShipTwo in February, so the timing fits. If they fly into space and time the announcement for that, it would work very well from a PR perspective.

    If they’re not in space in February (which I believe will be the case), then a lottery is a great distraction while they continue with the flight test program.

    I don’t doubt for a second that the event here in Mojave was specifically timed when it was to avoid stories about how it’s been 9 years since Branson unveiled the project without any spaceflights. The event was on Sept. 25; his announcement was on Sept. 27, 2004. The two Ansari X Prize winning flights took place on Sept. 29 and Oct. 4, 2004.

    They did something similar back in 2008. The rollout of WhiteKnightTwo came a year and a day after the explosion that killed three Scaled employees.

  • Lamar Webb

    It’s here! It’s real. Right now.
    Space for All Foundation hosts the first International Lottery for a trip into Space via Virgin Galactic.
    Fixed odds of one in five hundred thousand give us all a chance to get into space. Tickets are .0025 btc or a bit over an American dollar.
    Next 500 tickets are free!

    Space for All Foundation Space Lottery