Shares of Virgin Galactic soared on Friday on news the company was readying commercial flights.
After years of delays, the first flight will take place on June 27, with another scheduled for August.
The stock spiked 47% Friday, but is still trading far below highs reached in 2021.
Virgin Galactic stock rocketed as much as 47% higher on Friday, as investors cheered the news that the space tourism company was preparing its first commercial flights after a long series of delays.
Soon after the market opened, the stock jumped to $5.97, then pared its gain to $5.50, up 36% from Thursday’s close.
Billionaire Richard Branson’s space company announced that the first flight, dubbed Galactic 01, is scheduled between June 27 and June 30. The flight will carry a science team of three crew members from the Italian air force who will conduct microgravity research, the company said. A second flight will follow in early August. Private space flights will cost $450,000 per ticket, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The news comes after a string of delays and technical issues that pushed out the date of Virgin’s first commercial operations. The company has also struggled to make money. It rode a wave of enthusiasm around the SPAC boom in the early days of the pandemic, but ultimately missed its 2021 revenue projection by 98%.
As the air came out of the SPAC bubble over the course of 2022, many firms that went public in a merger with a blank-check firm saw their stock price crumble. Virgin Galactic is trading far below highs reached in 2021, when the stock was trading at nearly $60 per share.
In 2021, Branson was aboard the first fully crewed spaceflight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. That was part of the test flight program.
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