This morning, Richard Branson’s spaceship startup Virgin Galactic unveiled the second design of its suborbital vehicles, SpaceShipTwo and White Knight Two. SpaceShipTwo is what the passengers will actually ride in, and White Knight Two is the launch vehicle that carries it to a high altitude before releasing the rocket.
On the initial $200,000 price per flight, Branson notes:
Within five years of launching, we hope that price will come down dramatically. We accept that $200,00, even though the dollar is not worth much anymore, is still too expensive for the majority of people.
By comparison, a trans-Atlantic flight in 1939 between New York and England cost the equivalent of $47,000 in today’s dollars. That was one-way and coach.