Further advancement into commercial space service is highly anticipated, a fact that has made the company’s stock gain 71.47% year-to-date and 124.81% in 1 year.

Shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (NYSE: SPCE) fell 17.3% on Monday to close at $40.69. The drop happened after the company filed with the SEC a notice for a $500 million common stock sale. These events follow the company’s successful test flight into suborbital space with its billionaire founder Sir Richard Branson.

During Monday’s pre-trading session, Virgin’s shares rose as high as 7% before plummeting later on. Trading also halted briefly at some point due to high price volatility as retail investors reacted to events.

The company’s outstanding shares total 240 million, of which 164.6 million are public float. Should shares be sold at Friday’s closing price of $49.20, then the company’s $500 million offerings would amount to roughly 10.2 million shares.

Sunday’s test flight inches the firm towards its goal of achieving commercial service in 2022, despite several past failures.

Moreover, the test flight marks a major milestone for the greater commercial space industry in their race to take people to space. Founded in 2014, Virgin’s flight was the first successful space flight in more than two years.

Virgin Galactic Shares and Spacecraft

Further advancement into commercial space service is highly anticipated, a fact that has made the company’s stock gain 71.47% year-to-date and 124.81% in 1 year.

Reportedly, the company’s spacecraft, branded VSS Unity, was launched above New Mexico by two pilots. The rest of the crew included founder Branson and three of the company’s employees.

The VSS Unity has a carrying capacity of eight, inclusive of six passengers and two pilots. At the moment, the company has 600 reservations for future flights, with each ticket having sold for $200,000-$250,000. Once passenger ticket sales are announced, Branson expects prices to shoot up to $400,000- $500,000.

Moreover, Virgin Galactic has announced its partnership with Omaze sweepstakes company. This collaboration will give away two seats on “one of the first commercial Virgin Galactic spaceflights” early next year.

According to Douglas Harned, AB Bernstein’s analyst, the successful test flight built great confidence in space tourists. Success in Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin flight, scheduled July 20, will further benefit the space tourism industry, he added.

Virgin Galactic rescheduled its launch date to nine days earlier than that of Blue Origin’s first passenger flight on July 20. Launched ahead of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, Branson’s flight makes him the first of the billionaire space company founders to fly his spacecraft.

In the after-hours market session, Virgin Galactic shares were trading at $41.11, having gained 1.03% from the closing price. However, in the pre-market, the stock lost over 7% again. Harned further went on to state that Sunday’s flight success may be a short-term stock price catalyst for the company, but their long-term forecast remains unaltered.

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Steve Muchoki

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