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Now here's a stock everyone wants to see successfully shoot into orbit.

Billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic on Tuesday confirmed that it will become the world's first listed space-tourism operation when it goes public later this year by merging with Social Capital Hedosophia in a $1.3 billion deal.

The companies confirmed on Tuesday that 49% of Virgin Galactic will be sold to Social Capital Hedosophia, a shell company that already trades on the New York Stock Exchange as a so-called Special Purpose Acquisition Vehicle, or SPAC.

Under terms of the deal, Virgin Galactic shareholders will receive $1 billion of common stock of the combined company at $10 a share, and $300 million in cash, including $100 million from Social Capital Hedosophia's founder, former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of the year, will create the first publicly traded company whose sole mission is to fly customers into space and have them become officially designated astronauts. Billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX is a privately held venture. 

Virgin Galactic said it already has customer reservations from more than 600 people in 60 countries representing approximately $80 million in total collected deposits and $120 million of potential revenue.

The company also has been granted its Federal Aviation Administration commercial space launch license, and its New Mexico Spaceport has also received its Spaceport license.