Virgin Galactic (SPCE) gained FAA clearance to transport people on Friday, putting Richard Branson in a position to beat Amazon (AMZN) and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos to space. The stock of SPCE has increased in value.
Virgin Galactic (SPCE)
Virgin Galactic is an American spaceflight business founded by British and American entrepreneurs. Richard Branson established it, and his Virgin Group has a 33 percent interest. It is building commercial spacecraft with the goal of providing space travellers with suborbital spaceflights.
According to a press statement from Virgin Galactic on Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration amended the company’s current commercial space transportation operator licence, allowing it to carry clients to space.
“We have conducted a comprehensive assessment of data obtained from its May 22 test flight and confirmed that the flight operated successfully against all flying goals,” Virgin added.
The second test flight, according to the firm, will involve two pilots and a complete cabin. Then Branson would board a third aircraft, which would include scientific payloads as well as personnel of the Italian Air Force.
This is the first time the US government has given permission for a business to carry people to space, and it is a significant milestone for the company founded by Sir Richard Branson, with Virgin now focused entirely on its next test flight, which will be a fully crewed journey.
SPCE soaring up in Stock market
On the stock market today, shares jumped 38.9% to settle at 55.91. SPCE has just risen over its 50-day moving average, reaching its highest level since February. The stock of Boeing (BA), whose HorizonX venture capital arm owns a $20 million minority stake in Virgin Galactic, fell 0.9 percent.
As Virgin Galactic continues to move toward what may be its first commercial trip taking passengers to space, the stock price reaction demonstrates how enthusiastic investors are about the news.
On Instagram earlier this month, Bezos revealed that he, his brother, and an unnamed auction winner will go on the first crewed launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket on July 20.
However, Blue Origin has yet to gain FAA clearance to fly customers ahead of schedule.
The competition between the two billionaires has been downplayed by Virgin Galactic. Branson congratulated Bezos and Blue Origin on Twitter, adding the cryptic message “watch this space…”
Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space…
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) June 7, 2021
Virgin Galactic’s FAA clearance, according to Laura Forczyk, founder of space consulting firm Astralytical, is wonderful news for the company, but there isn’t enough information to determine what happens next.
Will the stocks go up?
The increase in SPCE stock today is accelerating the uptrend that began in late May of this year, when the price action effectively broke a steep falling wedge, culminating in a surge to $41.5.
Since then, the price action has left two bullish gaps, indicating increased interest from retail traders on the popular Reddit messaging board WallStreetBets and the market’s apparent positive sentiment toward Virgin amid the possibility of the company becoming the first to fly customers into space.
For the time being, the upward momentum in the company may allow SPCE stock to approach, if not exceed, its all-time high of $62.5 per share, fuelled by investors’ aspirations and fantasies of space flight.