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Virgin Galactic set to become first publicly traded space tourism stock

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson
Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Virgin Galactic is set to hit the New York Stock Exchange on Monday after its merger with venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya's special purpose vehicle was approved by company shareholders, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: The approval means Virgin Galactic will become the first human spaceflight and space tourism company to be publicly traded on the stock market.

Background: Virgin Galactic's spacecraft can carry up to six passengers along with two pilots up to the edge of space. The flights go for about $250,000 per person, with 603 members of the public already on a waitlist to fly.

The company's merger with former Facebook senior executive Palihapitiya's company Social Capital Hedosophia was announced back in May.

  • Social Capital Hedosophia took a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic, giving the company a $1.5 billion valuation.
  • Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson retained a 51% controlling stake.

Go deeper: Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is going public