Virgin Galactic announces first commercial spaceflights this summer

Virgin Galactic's first commercial spaceflight is scheduled to be a research mission launched June 27, followed by a private astronaut flight in August

Virgin Galactic announced Thursday that the "spaceline for Earth is open" and the company will hold its first commercial spaceflights this summer.

Shares soared on Friday by double-digits. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SPCE VIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS INC. 0.92 +0.17 +23.38%

Virgin Galactic’s first commercial spaceflight is scheduled to happen from June 27 to June 30. The scientific research mission, known as "Galactic 01," will carry three crew members from the Italian Air Force and National Research Council of Italy and conduct research on microgravity, according to a release from the company.

That will be followed in early August by Virgin Galactic’s first private astronaut flight, a mission that will be known as "Galactic 02." The company’s release did not specify who will participate in the private astronaut flight. 

The company’s press release said following the launch of Galactic 02, monthly spaceflights are expected to happen hereafter. Virgin Galactic completed its test flight in advance of the Galactic 01 and Galactic 02 flights in May.

Virgin Galactic

.

SPACE RACE: VIRGIN GALACTIC, SPACEX, BLUE ORIGIN BACK AT IT

"If you ever dreamed of exploring beyond, welcome to the new space age," Virgin Galactic’s promotional video said.

Virgin Galactic Unity Flight

Virgin Galactic's Unity 25 mission was launched in May 2023. It was the company's first spaceflight Richard Bransons flight in July 2021. (Courtesy of Virgin Galactic / Fox News)

VIRGIN GALACTIC REVEALS UNITY 25 FLIGHT’S UPCOMING LAUNCH WINDOW

Following the announcement, Virgin Galactic shares surged in after-hours trading.

The company’s stock price soared by over 40% to $4.06 per share as of 7:40 p.m. ET, although it remained well below the all-time highs of more than $55 per share it reached in 2021.

Richard Branson Spaceflight

Virgin Galactic's billionaire founder Richard Branson and other crew members experience weightlessness during a 2021 sub-orbital spaceflight on Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity. (Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic was founded by billionaire Richard Branson in 2004 and is headquartered in Orange County, California. The company aims to find commercial success by selling private trips to space to members of the public in addition to facilitating scientific research missions.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

It began offering ticket sales to members of the public interested in private spaceflight in 2022. Prices for a reservation run about $450,000 and the company has a reported waitlist of about 800 passengers.

A spinoff company, Virgin Orbit, was launched in 2017 but faced layoffs in March 2023 and was ultimately shuttered in May 2023 due to financial and technical challenges.