Virgin Galactic postpones space tourism flights again until Q2 2023

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The aircraft carrier VMS Eve will depart from Spaceport America in New Mexico on July 11, 2021, carrying the VSS Unity spacecraft.

Virgo Galactic

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic on Thursday postponed the start of its commercial flights by another three months, due to delays in refurbishing its aircraft carrier.

Virgin Galactic has announced that commercial service will be pushed back to the second quarter of 2023, the latest setback before the debut of its space tourism business. Earlier, the company had shifted the date from the fourth quarter of this year to the first quarter of next year.

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The stock fell more than 10% in after-hours trading from the close of $8.19 a share. The stock has fallen more than 70% in the past 12 months.

The company currently has one aircraft carrier, or “mothership,” called VMS Eve, which is about 14 years old and undergoing a lengthy renovation. The jet-powered mothership plays a key role in Virgin Galactic’s flights by raising the company’s spacecraft to approximately 50,000 feet for launch.

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Virgin Galactic reported an adjusted EBITDA loss for the second quarter of $93 million, ahead of its $77 million loss in the prior quarter. The company has $1.1 billion in cash on hand. It also said it plans to sell up to $300 million in common stock, which the company says is intended to add “financial flexibility going forward.”

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