The California-based aerospace company Virgin Galactic has again delayed the space tourism flights it will offer through its SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, saying that it now anticipates getting these off the ground during the second quarter of 2023. The company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, made this announcement while on a recent speaking tour in Australia. We are now looking forward to starting full-time spaceflight operations in around three years, Branson said at an event in Brisbane, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The launch of Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Flights Has Been Delayed
Virgin Galactic has delayed the start of its commercial flights by another three months due to delays in repairing its carrier aircraft.
Virgin Galactic just announced that it is pushing back the date for its commercial service launch to the second quarter of 2023, the latest setback for the debut of its space tourism business. The company was delaying its new projected release date from the fourth quarter of this year to the first quarter of next year.
After-hours trading dropped the stock by more than 10% from its closing price of $8.19. The stock’s price has fallen more than 70% over the past 12 months.
The company currently owns one carrier aircraft, called VMS Eve, which is a little old at 14 years and is currently undergoing a long refurbishment. A jet-powered mothership improves Virgin Galactic’s flights by lifting spacecraft up to altitudes of about 50,000 feet.
Virgin Galactic has a wider second-quarter adjusted EBITDA loss of $93 million, which is an increase from the $77 million it lost in the previous quarter. The company has $1.1 billion in cash. It’s also set to sell up to $300 million in common stock, which is an attempt to provide some extra financial flexibility.