Virgin Galactic (SPCE) reported another quarter with steep losses Thursday and scheduled its next test flight for May. SPCE stock fell.
Early Thursday, the company announced that CFO Jon Campagna is stepping down Mar. 1 and will be replaced by Doug Ahrens, who had served as CFO of chipmaker Mellanox. Virgin Galactic also named Swami Iyer as president of aerospace systems and Stephen Justice as vice president of engineering.
Virgin Galactic Earnings Report
Estimates: A loss of 31 cents per share, vs. a 37 cent per share loss in the year-ago quarter, on zero revenue.
Results: Loss of 31 cents a share on zero revenue. Total Future Astronauts remained at approximately 600, as of Dec. 31.
The May flight would come about three months after Richard Branson’s space tourism company opened a window for another attempt at a powered test flight of its SpaceShipTwo vehicle.
Virgin Galactic said it’s completing modifications and conducting technical checks ahead of flight, which will include revenue-generating payloads as part of the NASA Flight Opportunities Program.
If the retest is successful, the company has said it plans a second powered flight, a key step needed before revenue-generating commercial flights can start.
On Thursday, the company also said significant milestones on a second spaceship have been completed ahead of a scheduled rollout on March 30.
Virgin Galactic is also accelerating enhancements to the Eve mothership vehicle, which carries SpaceShipTwo before it’s released, and is preparing for second-generation mothership program.
Test Flight Looms Over SPCE Stock
Shares fell 10% late after closing down 8.4% at 42.24 on the stock market today. SPCE stock is currently in profit-taking range after breaking out of a cup base with a 35.92 entry in late January.
Boeing (BA), whose venture capital arm HorizonX has a $20 million minority stake in Virgin Galactic, slipped 5.6% Thursday after jumping 8% Wednesday.
Virgin Galactic aborted a powered test flight on Dec. 12, when it failed to hit important milestones due to a sudden halt in the rocket motor’s ignition sequence.
That flight was supposed to complete data-gathering for the final two FAA verification and validation milestones. The next attempt will try to capture that data and evaluate the upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls.
Virgin Galactic had hoped to see its first commercial flight in Q1 2021, but the latest delays put that in doubt.
Wall Street has been exceptionally bullish on the stock despite the lack of revenue-generating flights. But SPCE stock was downgraded to neutral from buy by UBS earlier this month as analysts think that a successful test flight by Virgin Galactic is already priced into its shares.
Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for space news and more.
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