The Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Virgin Group will form a $1 billion partnership to invest in Virgin Galactic, The Space Ship and Virgin Orbit according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The agreement includes a $480 million future option for investment in the space services sector.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Board of Economic Affairs and Development and Chairman of the Board of the Public Investment Fund and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group approved the agreement on Thursday.
The partnership between the Public Investment Fund and the Virgin Group is an effective platform for enhancing the status of new technologies in the Kingdom’s plan to develop a modern and diversified economy in line with Vision 2030.
“The partnership with the Virgin Group reflects the steps that the Kingdom is taking towards our vision to develop a diversified and knowledge-based economy, and the future of the Kingdom is an innovation-based future, as demonstrated by the Future Investment Initiative Forum. At the Virgin Group level to achieve effective achievements in the sectors and technologies that drive global progress,” said Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, said that he is delighted to welcome Saudi Arabia as a new partner at Virgin Galactic, The Space Ship and Virgin Orbit under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“The Virgin Galactic voyage will take us to space for only a few months. Virgin Orbit’s flight to space will launch a number of satellites around the Earth. This investment will enable us to develop the next generation of satellite launch activities and speed up our travel-to-space program,” he said.
Branson furthermore said that he has accepted a board position on large development projects in Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters..
“I will invest. I’ve been asked to be ... on the board of one or two of your city projects - your Red Sea Project - and am delighted to accept,” he told an investment conference in the capital Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday a $500 billion cross-border city development project on the Red Sea. The kingdom also plans tourism developments on a number of Red Sea islands.