Virgin Galactic stock sinks after successful spaceflight

Virgin Galactic kicked off its commercial spaceflight operations Thursday morning

Virgin Galactic slid on Thursday after the company successfully completed its first commercial spaceflight.

Following a jump in stock value before the flight, shares of Richard Branson's spaceflight company are now down more than 10%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SPCE VIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS INC. 0.86 -0.05 -5.19%

"The Virgin fleet, which consists of only one spacecraft currently, is capable of only one flight per month, and that flight rate is not high enough to allow the firm to become free cash flow positive," Pete Skibitski, director and senior analyst at Alembic Global Advisors, told FOX Business. 

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"Unfortunately, it will likely not happen until the 2027 timeframe, when the company’s next-generation Delta-class space fleet is available in numbers to generate large numbers of annual space flights," he continued. "I think today reflects the stock market’s realization that the path to positive cash flow will be a multi-year endeavor."

After being delayed by upgrades, Virgin Galactic kicked off its commercial spaceflight operations Thursday morning with a suborbital scientific research mission dubbed Galactic 01.

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Galactic 01’s crew included Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei and Lt. Col. Angelo Landolfi, National Research Council of Italy engineer Pantaleone Carlucci and Virgin Galactic Astronaut Instructor Colin Bennett. Pilots involved in the mission are Mike Masucci, Nicola Pecile, Kelly Latimer and Jameel Janjua.

Virgin Galactic takeoff aircraft spaceflight

People react as the passenger rocket plane operated by Virgin Galactic takes off, during the company's first commercial flight to the edge of space, at the Spaceport America facility, in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, U.S., June 29, 2023. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

The Italian crew members conducted a series of suborbital science experiments, Virgin Galactic said.

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The company, which competes with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, targeted late 2023 for beginning regular spaceflights. 

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FOX Business' Aislinn Murphy contributed to this report.