Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Virgin Group announced on Thursday a desire for forming a $1 billion partnership where PIF invests in Virgin Galactic, The Space Ship, and Virgin Orbit in addition to a possible $480 million for future investment in space services.
The investment was approved by PIF Chairman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson, reported the Saudi Press Agency(SPA).
The partnership between PIF and Virgin Group represents an effective platform to enhance modern technologies in the Kingdom's plan towards developing a modern and diversified economy in line with the Vision 2030.
The Chairman of the PIF Board of Directors stated: "The partnership with Virgin Group reflects the Kingdom's steps towards our vision to develop a diversified and knowledge-based economy. The Kingdom's future is an innovation-based future which is jumped out at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Forum. We will work with companies at the level of Virgin Group to make effective achievements in sectors and technologies that accelerate progress at the global level."
For his part, Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, said: "We welcome the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a new partner for us at Virgin Galactic, Space Ship, and Virgin Orbit under the leadership of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. We are now just months away from Virgin Galactic sending people into space and Virgin Orbit placing satellites around the Earth. This investment will enable us to develop the next generation of human spaceflight, more economic satellite launches and accelerate our programme for trans-continental point-to-point space travel."
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Managing Director of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and Managing Director of Virgin Group Patrick McCall.
In accordance with regulations, this investment entails that PIF owns a stake in Virgin Galactic, The Space Ship, and Virgin Orbit in addition to other shareholders, including Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJSC.
The companies and PIF will cooperate to implement a roadmap, to be agreed upon, to develop the sector of space in the Kingdom in accordance with existing legislation.