Virgin Galactic Stock Tumbles After Test Flight Failed To Reach Outer Space
Pilots and spaceship made a ‘perfect’ landing, but rocket motor didn’t fire. Virgin Galactic Stock Tumbles After Test Flight Failed To Reach Outer Space
Shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. tumbled Monday, after the space travel company said a recent test flight failed to reach space as planned, but did land safely.
The stock SPCE, -17.38% sank 15.1% in active morning trading. Volume reached 12 million shares with the first 15 minutes after the open, compared with the full-day average of 13.6 million shares.
The stock has now dropped 19.4% since it closed at a near 10-month high of $33.80 on Dec. 7.
The company said that during a test flight launched on Dec. 12, the rocket motor “did not fire due to the ignition sequence not completing,” keeping the flight from reaching space.
The flight landed safely as planned at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
“Our flight landed beautifully, with pilots, planes and spaceship safe, secure and in excellent share — the foundation of every successful mission!” said Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Michael Colglazier.
Virgin Galactic said a preliminary analysis indicated that the onboard computer which monitors the propulsion system lost connection, which triggered a fail-safe scenario in which the ignition of the rocket motor was intentionally halted.
“We remain focused on the test flight program we have previously announced, beginning with ta repeat of this test flight, which included two pilots and NASA payloads,” Colglazier said. “This will be followed by another test flight which will include mission specialists in the cabin. And following that flight, we will have another test flight which will include our founder, Sir Richard Branson.”
Virgin Galactic’s stock has still run up 56.4% over the past three months and rocketed 135.5% year to date. In comparison, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.44% has advanced 9.2% over the past three months and 14.3% this year.
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