Commercial Space Companies: What About Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic?

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With SpaceX Taking Up So Many Headlines, Here’s What the other Commercial Space Companies Have Been Up To…

Let’s face it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. And when it comes to making headlines about space, few wheels are more squeaky than Elon Musk’s baby, SpaceX. On the other hand, Boeing makes its share of headlines, too. But what about the other commercial space companies? The ones we don’t see on the front pages every day? Well, leaving aside the dozens of startups and smaller companies with either NASA or military space contracts, we’ll examine Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic today. 

Blue Origin:

Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin made headlines this week when CEO Bob Smith sat down with CNBC’s Morgan Brennan to talk about the future of Blue Origin and other commercial space companies.

Among other things, Smith discussed Blue Origin’s investment in Huntsville, Alabama—a town also known as “Rocket City.” Smith also discussed details and plans for the New Glenn rocket, the company’s main project. According to Smith, the rocket already has contracts with three top satellite operators, the Air Force, and other agencies. They hope to launch the first New Glenn flight in 2021.

Virgin Galactic:

Apart from Boeing, SpaceX, and Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic stands out as another billionaire space company of note. Just a couple of weeks ago, Sir Richard Branson’s contribution to the world of commercial space companies went public. Unfortunately, stocks haven’t soared the way his planes do.

Here’s an interview with Branson about going public:

Without getting into the muck regarding stock trading, IPOs and other such voodoo witchcraft, the explanation for Virgin Galactic’s lackluster performance has to do with the way the company went public. Virgin Galactic merged with Social Capital Hedosophia (IPOA), which was basically just a venture capital company looking for a company to buy up. Virgin decided to be that company. So when investors looked at the info, they basically just saw a name change. Those IPOA stocks were originally worth about $10/share. Now that things have settled a bit, the Virgin Galactic stock (SPCE) is right around the same amount. The significant thing, however, is that the merger makes Virgin Galactic the first publically traded commercial human spaceflight company.

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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