LONDON -- Richard Branson's space-tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, is planning to go public, creating the first publicly listed human spaceflight firm.
Virgin Galactic is merging with Social Capital Hedosophia, whose CEO, Chamath Palihapitiya, will become chairman of the combined entity. The value of the merger was put at $1.5 billion.
The company intends to offer "a unique, multi-day experience culminating in a personal spaceflight that includes out-of-seat gravity and views of Earth from space.
Virgin Galactic has reservations from some 600 people in 60 countries, with $80 million in deposits and $120 million in potential revenue.
It says it has "overcome a substantial number of technical hurdles" required to make the company viable.
It aims to complete the merger later this year before listing on the New York Stock Exchange.