Virgin Galactic announced that is lost an astonishing $1 billion in 2020 and 2021, which is a colossal figure, especially considering that the company reported a minuscule $3.5 million in revenue during the same period.
It's a sobering snapshot of the commercial space travel industry, especially considering the company is hoping to start commercial suborbital flights some time this year.
But new financial figures show that the company is still bleeding money. In Q4 of last year alone, the company made a paltry $141,000 — pocket change compared to a net loss of $80 million during the same period.
Despite having lost a billion dollars in just two years, the company claims it's all part of the plan as it gears up to offer more commercial flights to, if not space, at least trips very off the Earth.
"We remain on track and on schedule to complete our enhancement program and launch commercial service later this year," said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, in a statement.
"Expected launch of private astronaut commercial service remains on track for Q4 2022," the investor update reads.
The update also says several enhancements are being made to the company's mothership Eve and spacecraft Unity to "improve the vehicles’ durability, reliability, and flight rate frequency leading into commercial service."
That's important, since the company's rocket plane veered way off course during a launch into the upper atmosphere with Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson on board last year.
The Federal Aviation Administration later grounded the company's planes until further notice in response, causing stocks to plummet. The regulator, however, cleared the vehicles for flight following an investigation several weeks later.
Right now, flying to the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere — not exactly high enough to quality as "outer space" — still costs an eyewatering $450,000.
Despite the sky high price, Virgin Galactic is hoping to sell at least 1,000 tickets by the end of the year.
As Ars Technica points out, it seems like a long shot business model. The company's flights just aren't flying often enough to ensure more robust revenue figures.
"More simple math: Virgin Galactic's expenses are [around] $80 million a quarter," Ars Technica's Eric Berger tweeted. "At $450k a seat, that's 30 full flights a quarter, or one flight every three days. TO BREAK EVEN."
"And first they've got to fly hundreds of people who have already paid for their tickets," he added.
All told, it sounds like the company's finances are in a nose dive. Whether it'll will be able to level out before crashing remains to be seen.
READ MORE: Virgin Galactic has lost $1 billion during the last two years [Ars Technica]
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