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Virgin Galactic takes off in NYSE debut

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Virgin Galactic takes off in NYSE debut

Virgin Galactic takes off in NYSE debut

Virgin Galactic started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, becoming the first space tourism company to hit public markets.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

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Virgin Galactic takes off in NYSE debut

Virgin Galactic, the space venture backed by Sir Richard Branson, marked its lift-off on Wall Street Monday, becoming the first space tourism company to hit public markets.

Virgin's stock rose at the open, trading above $12, under the ticker name SPCE on the New York Stock exchange.

This follows Virgin's merger with Social Capital Hedosophia, an investment vehicle run by a former Facebook executive, which invested $800 million for a 49% stake.

Investors are betting on high demand from the ultra rich to take a joy ride around space.

The price tag on that experience $250,000.

Here's Branson: (SOUNDBITE) (English) VIRGIN GALACTIC FOUNDER, SIR RICHARD BRANSON, SAYING: "I think there were only 500 people have ever been into space.

So...and yet, there are millions out there who would love to go.

Our aim is to enable those millions of people over the next 20, 30 years to become astronauts and fulfill their dream.

And today's made it that much more likely we'll be able to achieve that." Branson - who maintains control of the company - is racing against Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to be the first company that sends tourists into space.

The likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber have already taken steps to secure a spot - along with hundreds of others who have either paid or put down deposits for a 90-minute flight, which allows passengers to experience a few minutes of weightlessness.

Virgin's current reservations represent about $80 million in total collected deposits and $120 million of potential revenue.

How long it will take for Virgin to see that cash remains to be seen but some of its ticket holders have been waiting over 14 years for their trip.



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