Saudi Arabia has announced its partnership with Virgin Group and plans to invest $1 billion in Virgin Galactic, including its side companies, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and Virgin Group signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week, which also includes the option to invest an additional $480 million.
“This partnership with Virgin Group reflects the great strides the Kingdom is making towards our vision for a diversified, knowledge-based economy,” said Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud in a statement.
“The future of Saudi Arabia is one of innovation, as showcased at this week’s Future Investment Initiative, and it’s through partnerships with organisations like Virgin Group that we will make active contributions to those sectors and technologies that are driving progress on a global scale.”
Virgin will continue to develop its VSS Unity spacecraft, which is expected to carry astronauts into space within the next four months; commercial space tourisms flights could begin as early as next year. Virgin Orbit, meanwhile, is gearing up to launch satellites into Earth’s orbit.
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