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Currently, the key objective of Virgin Galactic is to complete the flight as well as “to test the remedial work that has been completed since the onboard computer halted ignition of the rocket motor.”
On Monday, space tourism company Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (NYSE: SPCE) announced the date of its new test flight for its SpaceShipTwo Unity. The company will redo the aborted flight from December 12, 2020, on February 13. Following the news, SPCE shares soared to close 21.45% up yesterday, at $53.79. After hours, Virgin Galactic stock added another 9.26% to $58.77 per share.
Back on December 12, 2020, Virgin Galactic conducted the test flight of SpaceShip Two Unity. However, the rocket motor did not fire due to the ignition sequence not completing. As a result, the flight did not reach space and the pilots conducted a safe landing and return to Spaceport America, New Mexico.
Currently, the company’s key objective is to complete the flight as well as “to test the remedial work that has been completed since the onboard computer halted ignition of the rocket motor.”
Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier stated:
“The team has since conducted the root cause analysis, completed the corrective work required, and carried out extensive ground testing. The next stage will be to assess and verify this work during a rocket-powered flight.”
According to Virgin Galactic CEO, the upcoming test flight will encompass all of the original test objectives from the previous test flight. These include evaluating elements of the customer cabin, testing the live stream capability from the spaceship to the ground, and assessing the upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls during the boost phase of the flight. Only two pilots and NASA payloads will be on board
Further, the team will review all the data gained and inform of the next steps in the test flight program. Then, another test flight will take place. It will include mission specialists in the cabin.
Virgin Galactic (SPCE) Stock Expectations
In December, Virgin Galactic recorded its third-worst day trading ever in history after a failed spaceflight test. However, it recovered quite fast, and many analysts remain bullish on SPCE. For example, Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS) analyst Robert Spingarn said Virgin Galactic had proven safe flight as the company’s pilots were able to land safely despite the unforeseen disruption in December. Therefore, they maintained the price target on Virgin Galactic at $26.
Virgin Galactic is among heavily shorted stocks that saw high interest from retail investors. Nearly 20% of its 210 million share float is sold short. On January 27, SPCE shares recorded a high of $59.43 at the close. Over the past year, the company’s stock has climbed over 106%. Year-to-date, SPCE stock is 126.68% up.
After adding 21.45% yesterday, SPCE stock is up 14.52% today in the pre-market. It has reached the level of $61.60.