by US Technology Reporter and Margi Murphy, The Telegraph , October 8, 2019
The world’s largest aerospace company has handed $20 million (£16m) to Sir Richard Branson's firm Virgin Galactic as it seeks to bring supersonic flight to passengers around the world.
Boeing wants to help the commercial space flight company develop ultra-fast flight technology which could cut travel time between continents down to just a few hours.
This could help the company’s new plan to develop “flying cars” that will transport commuters to different cities a reality.
In February Virgin Galactic proved it could send a commercial vehicle soaring at Mach 3 speeds - surpassing Concorde, which made its last flight in October 2003.
The project has been dogged by delays since Sir Richard first announced plans to fly tourists into space almost two decades ago.
Brian Schettler, director of Boeing’s investment arm, said the partnership will be focused on giving more consumers access to “safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation”.
Sir Richard said: “This is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight programme.
“Virgin Galactic and Boeing share a vision of opening access to the world and space, to more people in safe and environmentally responsible ways.”
Sir Richard is looking to list the company on the New York Stock exchange in a merger with a Silicon Valley business by the end of the year.
He has spent $1bn building reusable human spaceflight vehicles. This new cash is a vote of confidence in a company that has been somewhat overshadowed by Tesla founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX, now valued at around $33bn.
SpaceX has several lucrative contracts to launch satellites. In 2014 it was selected along with Boeing by Nasa to transport crew to the International Space Station, but has yet to run any flights.
Mr Musk said in September that he believed his rocket would be ready to carry astronauts in “three to four months” but even Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said he remained unconvinced due to delays.
He told CNN that the US agency would be buying tickets on Russian flights instead. Mr Bridenstine slammed Mr Musk on Twitter last week, warning the billionaire: “It's time to deliver”.
This article was written by US Technology Reporter and Margi Murphy from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].