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Boeing plans to invest $20 million in to space tourism company Virgin Galactic

The two companies will work together to 'broaden commercial space access.'

Boeing, the largest aerospace company in the world, is planning on investing $20 million in to the space tourism company Virgin Galactic.

In a press release Monday, Virgin Galactic announced the companies will work together in order to "broaden commercial space access and transform global travel technologies."

According to Forbes, the Virgin Galactic is finalizing an $800 million merger with Social Capital Hedosophia, which will then make Virgin Galactic the first publicly traded human spaceflight company. The investment from Boeing is contingent on Virgin Galactic merging with Social Capital Hedosophia by the end of the year. Boeing's investment will be in return for new shares of the merged company. 

Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson founded the spaceflight company in 2004 with hopes to capitalize on commercial spacecraft. The company's current goals include shuttling people around the world at high speeds, something that is still years away. 

“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," Branson said in the press release.

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So far the company has already sold 603 tickets to fly on a Virgin Galactic spacecraft. The company says ticket sales will resume one commercial operation commence, according to Forbes. 

Credit: © 2018 Virgin Galactic
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“Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures, in the press release.

Virgin Galactic has already invested more than $1 billion in to building reusable, human spacecraft systems.