Virgin Galactic stock craters after commercial flights are delayed

Virgin Galactic stock craters after commercial flights are delayed

Posted: Oct 15, 2021 2:30 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2021 2:30 PM

Virgin Galactic has pushed back the start of full commercial service to the fourth quarter of next year, sending shares in the space tourism company founded by billionaire Richard Branson down sharply.

The stock dropped 14% in early trading on Friday after Virgin Galactic said it was making schedule changes that would delay a crucial test flight and the start of commercial services, which had been expected to commence late in the third quarter of 2022.

Virgin Galactic said it would focus on an "enhancement program" to improve the performance of its rocket-powered plane VSS Unity and the mother ship from which it launches. It will also carry out physical inspections after a lab test "flagged a possible reduction in the strength margins of certain materials."

"While this new lab test data has had no impact on the vehicles, our test flight protocols have clearly defined strength margins, and further analysis will assess whether any additional work is required to keep them at or above established levels," the company said in a statement.

The company said that a test flight, Unity 23, that had been expected as early as this month will also be delayed. The flight will carry three paying crew members from the Italian Air Force and the country's National Research Council.

"Our decisions are driven by detailed and thorough analysis, and we fly based on the most accurate and comprehensive data available," Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

"The re-sequencing of our enhancement period and the Unity 23 flight underscores our safety-first procedures, provides the most efficient path to commercial service, and is the right approach for our business and our customers," he added.

Virgin Galactic said the delays are not related to its recent probe into a potential defect in a supplier component. It said that issue has been resolved.

Branson became the first person to ride into space aboard a rocket they helped fund in July, traveling with three fellow crew members. He was followed into space days later by fellow billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. SpaceX, which was founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, is also competing in the space race.

Branson's flight, Unity 22, was investigated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for deviating from its assigned flight path. Virgin Galactic said in September that it had been cleared to fly again after the regulator accepted its "corrective actions."

More than 600 people — who purchased tickets for between $200,000 and $250,000 when Virgin Galactic sold its first batch of tickets nearly a decade ago — are already on the waiting list for a flight.

Virgin Galactic has been in the red every quarter since it went public in 2019, though executives are hoping to turn that around as it moves from its testing program into normal operations. The company said in August that it was reopening ticket sales at a base price of $450,000.

— Jackie Wattles contributed reporting.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Unassigned480
Rochester
Mostly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Mason City
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 50°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 40°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 50°
Mild heading into the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Small Business Saturday Preview

Image

Here comes Santa Claus

Image

Every brunette

Image

Chatfield brings home a trophy and KM comes up a bit short

Image

Full Friday Forecast 11/26/2021

Image

Shopping for a Christmas tree

Image

Crowds head to Apache Mall for Black Friday

Image

Sean's Weather 11/26

Image

Black Friday: supporting local this holiday season

Image

"Here comes Santa Claus," event in Rochester tonight

Community Events