Human spaceflight company founded by Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic, has secured a $20m strategic investment from Boeing HorizonX Ventures.

The companies will work together to meet the goal of transforming commercial space access and travel technologies across the world.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures senior managing director Brian Schettler said: “Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialisation of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation.

“Our work with Virgin Galactic and others will help unlock the future of space travel and high-speed mobility.”

The investment will be in exchange for new shares in Virgin Galactic once it goes public. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

In July, the company revealed plans to become a publicly-listed entity through a merge with special-purpose acquisition company Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings.

Virgin Galactic has so far spent $1bn to develop reusable human spaceflight systems.

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Branson 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 program.

“Virgin Galactic and Boeing share a vision of opening access to the world and space, to more people, in safe and environmentally responsible ways.”

Founded in 2004, Virgin Galactic has developed a Mach 3 passenger vehicle and achieved a major milestone by putting humans into space in a commercial service-built vehicle.