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Shares for Virgin Galactic have been fluctuating in the past few weeks which is linked to on-going speculation and rumours about a test launch.
Conventional tourism took a major hit last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel bans and the closure of many tourism-dependent businesses dealt a hard blow to the industry. Not so for the burgeoning space tourism industry. In fact, the last few months of 2020 were a period of exponential growth for the industry. That momentum is set to continue this year. Space tourism pioneer Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (NYSE: SPCE) had a very good year amid the rumours of launch. SPCE stock is up over 100% this year.
It has gone from $18 in August of 2020 to new highs of about $59 on the 11th of this month. At the time of writing, at the pre-market, SPCE stock is at $49.44 (+1.33%) per share, still an impressive $30 increase from August 2020.
In a recent version of its “Investment Implications of the Final Frontier” report, Morgan Stanley projects that annual revenue from the global space industry could be as $1.1T in 2040, a giant leap from last year’s $350B
Highly Anticipated Virgin Galactic Test Launch
Virgin Galactic announced on February 1 that it was planning a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity. The test of the suborbital vehicle was set for 13th February.
In a February 12th tweet, the company revealed that “additional checks” had to be done and as such, the test flight was postponed.
Flight test update: We have been progressing through our pre-flight preparations and, during that process, we have decided to allow more time for technical checks. We are working to identify the next flight opportunity. pic.twitter.com/DN58qbOoE0
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) February 12, 2021
The vague announcement did not provide a time-frame to the dismay of many investors. SPCE stock took an 8% hit after that announcement. It had a brief reprieve thanks to a rumour making the rounds in social media earlier this week. There was widespread speculation concerning the new launch date after a purported flight schedule asserted that the test flight was scheduled to take place this weekend. Stock prices saw a surge of about 4%, testing the $51 mark. This was until Virgin Galactic put an end to the speculation by denying the authenticity of the flight schedule. A further decline in SPCE stock was seen.
Of course, some investors are still bullish. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the next test flight, there have been calls to buy during the dip. A successful test flight could result in a huge payday for those holding on to their SPCE shares.
The company had 600 potential passengers as of October 2020. In a case where the commercial flights do not start at full capacity, Virgin Galactic still stands to make money. Even at half capacity, thanks to its $250,000 tickets, substantial passenger revenue is guaranteed.