Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) is starting to rocket higher on Friday morning, and it has fuel in the tank. After much anticipation, it appears that the company may be about to launch its test flight. This is a huge catalyst for SPCE stock, and for the entire space industry. So what do you need to know?
Investors likely know that Virgin Galactic represents the promise of the commercial space tourism industry. The company wants to provide suborbital space flights to tourists, and to assist in space science missions. Leading up to the this test flight, the company has already sold 600 tickets for these flights for prices between $200,000 and $250,000. But before it can take those tourists to space and continue cashing in, Virgin Galactic must launch a few final test flights.
That is where the move higher in SPCE stock comes in. Earlier in November, Virgin Galactic was getting ready to launch the first of its final three test flights from New Mexico. However, the novel coronavirus situation continued to worsen. Then, the state government imposed new restrictions and Virgin Galactic had to reschedule. With the new flight window now open today, is SPCE stock about to take off?
Good morning from NM. Vehicles and flight crew are ready. Flight window is now open. We will fly no earlier than Saturday. We have range clearance through the weekend and can extend into next week if necessary. Evaluating high-level winds and turbulence. Stay tuned for updates. pic.twitter.com/TZC2ebvWAw
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) December 11, 2020
An early morning tweet from the company suggests that such a move is coming, especially with the weather looking good. Earlier this week, SPCE stock climbed on news that the SpaceShipTwo Unity had successfully mated with the VMS Eve mothership. Now, we have confirmation that Virgin Galactic could launch this crewed test flight from New Mexico tomorrow.
But why does this really matter? Well, it turns out that this test flight represents a lot of what is at stake for SPCE stock.
The Virgin Galactic Test Flight and SPCE Stock
For this first test flight, pilots Dave Mackay and C.J. Sturckow will go the journey alone. Then, four mission specialists will join the pilots in the second test flight. Lastly, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson will venture off into suborbital space.
If all goes well, Virgin Galactic could soon be launching its $250,000-per-ride space tourism business, and could officially ramp up science partnerships like that with NASA. Since coming public, investors have traded SPCE stock on what it represents. Now, it is time for the company to prove that its business works, and that it can safely take tourists into space.
Just as SpaceX has grabbed attention this year for representing the disruption and evolution of the space industry, keep an eye on Virgin Galactic. Assuming all goes well, SPCE stock could represent a big step into the future.
At the time of this writing, SPCE stock is up 5.3%.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer with InvestorPlace.com.