Virgin Galactic (SPCE) to Launch First Commercial Space Flight

The share price for Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. SPCE has been skyrocketing since the beginning of June, increasing 36.7% as of last week. This company that focuses on the development, manufacture and operation of spaceships and related technologies has been making good of the tech boom and is all set to launch its commercial space tourism service later this month.

Founded in 2004 by billionaire and commercial astronaut Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic is part of the Zacks Aerospace – Defense industry. SPCE currently carries a current Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Virgin Galactic completed its final test spaceflight in May. The company is targeting a launch window of Jun 27, running through to Jun 30, with a second commercial flight targeted for early August. It plans a rhythm of monthly spaceflights after that.

This flight, called Galactic 01, will carry three members of the Italian Air Force to conduct microgravity research and will be crucial in setting expectations right for the company’s backlog of 800 passengers. Some of these passengers had signed up a decade ago for the lure of a 90-minute jaunt into space, to experience weightlessness and have an aerial view of Earth. The company, then, had sold the initial batch of tickets for $200,000 each. Inflation has taken its toll and prices now run in the region of $450,000.

The company’s shares had lost over two-thirds of their value last year due to continued delay in its launch of commercial service. Back then, SPCE had stated that it was having to upgrade its tourist spacecraft. It seems though that the horrors of 2022 are a thing of the past.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 8.9% over the past 60 days, a vast improvement on the 14% negative earnings surprise it had sprung on investors at its first-quarter 2023 earnings call. The future outlook is positive for the company in terms of revenues, with estimated sales growth of 236.5% for the year. One may think that things are looking up for the company — both literally and figuratively.

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