Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company headed by Sir Richard Branson, is set to become the first publicly-traded company with plans to send people to space. While that may not seem like the most exciting news, it means that Virgin Galactic is more likely than ever to continue on track with its space tourism plans.
The company has agreed to sell 49 percent to a shell company (called Social Capital Hedosophia) listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That company’s investment should generate about $800 million before Virgin Galactic attempts its first spaceflight with passengers, according to Bloomberg. By merging with an existing company, Virgin Galactic’s transition to becoming a publicly-traded company is less risky than going it alone.