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Stocks of Virgin Galactic Climb Ahead of Final Unity Mission

June 7, 2024
minute read

Shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. rose 2% in premarket trading as the space tourism company gears up for the final flight of its Unity spacecraft. Virgin Galactic's stock, which had been on a three-day losing streak and ended Thursday's session down 4%, has only registered gains twice in the last 16 sessions.

The company is aiming for a launch window opening on June 8 for its Galactic 07 mission, the last flight for the Unity spacecraft before Virgin Galactic pauses commercial operations to develop its new Delta-class spacecraft.

“It’s #Galactic07 Spaceflight Week!” Virgin Galactic announced on X (formerly known as Twitter). “Excitement is in the air as preparations ramp up for the upcoming mission. The window opens Saturday, June 8, 2024. Let the good times roll.” Another post on Thursday highlighted training activities: “Things are heating up! Today’s focus was G Awareness training and Cabin training, giving the #Galactic07 crew a taste of what they can expect during their upcoming spaceflight journey.”

The mission will carry three private astronauts and astronaut researcher Tuva Cihangir Atasever from Axiom Space, who will conduct suborbital testing of insulin pens.

Unlike the current Unity spacecraft, which seats four paying passengers and can undertake a single spaceflight per month, the Delta spacecraft will have six passenger seats and be capable of up to eight spaceflights a month. Delta tickets will be priced at $600,000, compared to the current $450,000 for Unity flights.

This flight marks Virgin Galactic’s seventh commercial and research spaceflight, its second this year, and its 12th overall.

Virgin Galactic provided an update on its financials with its first-quarter results last month, highlighting its cash position and cash burn, which has drawn significant attention.

Despite lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue guidance, KeyBanc Capital Markets highlighted the company's lower-than-expected cash burn as a positive sign. Among ten analysts surveyed by FactSet, two have a buy rating, five have a hold rating, and three recommend selling or underweighting Virgin Galactic shares.

Additionally, the Swiss National Bank increased its holdings in Virgin Galactic during the first quarter, as disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At the end of the first quarter, Virgin Galactic held $867 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, compared to $874 million at the same time last year. The company's cash position is under close scrutiny. Virgin Galactic's shares dropped in December after founder Richard Branson ruled out further investment in the space-tourism firm, which had recently detailed its near-term growth strategy.

In 2024, Virgin Galactic shares have plummeted 66.2%, while the S&P 500 index has risen by 12.2%.

Cathy Hills
Associate Editor
Eric Ng
John Liu
Editorial Board
Bryan Curtis
Adan Harris
Managing Editor
Cathy Hills
Associate Editor

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