When the "space tourists" arrive wearing sun hats
When the re-scheduled cruise gets canceled again... Better luck just leaving earth. Virgin Galactic stock popped 16% on a fun headline: the Richard Branson-owned space tourism startup wants to hotel-ify the International Space Station (in partnership with NASA, of course).
Expanding the galactic biz model... Virgin has historically been focused on suborbital spaceflight. It sells $250K tickets to send people to the edge of space (and back) on its spaceplane — but even that hasn't taken off commercially yet (only 5 people have gone for test flights). NASA will review the plan Virgin puts together to see if it's solid, before going ahead with this new venture.
NASA wants to commercialize space... and it needs private sector companies to do it. NASA's on a private hot streak: it recently completed a big launch with SpaceX, successfully sending astronauts into orbit with a private spacecraft for the first time ever. Now it wants Virgin's help getting tourists to the ISS.