Virgin Galactic was founded in 2004 by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. Branson had previously founded the Virgin Group and Virgin Atlantic airline.
His goal was to build commercial spaceships and launch aircraft for space travel. The company also has aspirations for suborbital transport.
In 2010, Abu Dhabi wealth fund Aabar Investments Group acquired a 31.8% stake in Virgin Galactic, receiving rights to launch tourism and research flights.
An October 2014 rocket-powered test flight of the first SpaceShipTwo craft, VSS Enterprise, broke apart in mid-air, halting flight reservations.
Branson has said that Virgin Galactic was "in the best position in the world" to provide rocket-powered, point-to-point 3,000 mph air travel.
In October 2019, Virgin Galactic was listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol 'SPCE.'
On July 11, 2021, Branson and three others rode on a flight as passengers, marking the first time a spaceflight company founder has travelled on his own ship into outer space.
Regular paid passenger service flights are scheduled to begin in 2022 after two more test flights have been completed.