Virgin Galactic delays beginning of commercial spaceflights to fourth quarter 2022, stock falls 20%



Virgin Galactic is delaying the start of its industrial house tourism carrier to fourth quarter 2022, with the corporate on Thursday pronouncing a reorganization of its building and check flight agenda.

The gap tourism corporate will this month start paintings refurbishing and bettering its spacecraft and provider airplane, a procedure a Virgin Galactic spokesperson instructed CNBC is anticipated to ultimate 8 to ten months – with final touch anticipated between June and August.

Virgin Galactic had deliberate to start the “enhancement” length after the following spaceflight, known as Team spirit 23. However the corporate stated a contemporary check “flagged a conceivable relief within the power margins of positive fabrics used to change particular joints” in its cars that can require “additional bodily inspection.”

With the paintings on Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft VSS Team spirit and provider airplane VMS Eve starting this month, the method makes mid-2022 the earliest that the Team spirit 23 might fly.

“The re-sequencing of our enhancement length and the Team spirit 23 flight underscores our safety-first procedures, supplies the most productive trail to industrial carrier, and is the fitting method for our industry and our consumers,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier stated in a commentary.

Stocks of Virgin Galactic dropped 20% in premarket buying and selling Friday. The inventory used to be up simply 1% for 2021 as of Thursday’s shut.

Team spirit 23 will now happen after the enhancement procedure, which Virgin Galactic stated is “designed to additional build up margins that can permit stepped forward reliability, sturdiness and decreased upkeep necessities.” Virgin Galactic had two extra spaceflights scheduled – Team spirit 24 and Team spirit 25, with the latter representing the release of industrial carrier – for the 3rd quarter of 2022, however the ones now not have public goal dates.

The refurbishment length had additionally been anticipated to start in September, however the Federal Aviation Administration had grounded Virgin Galactic for most of last month to research a mishap that befell all over the flight that carried corporate founder Sir Richard Branson. The FAA cleared Virgin Galactic to go back to flight after finishing the investigation.

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