Virgin Galactic shares drop 18% after aborted spaceflight check, which the company will repeat

SpaceShipTwo “Unity” on the runway after an aborted spaceflight check on Dec. 12, 2020.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic’s inventory fell in premarket buying and selling on Monday after the house tourism company lower brief its newest spaceflight check mid-launch on Saturday attributable to an engine ignition subject.

“The flight did not reach space as we had been planning. After being released from its mothership, the spaceship’s onboard computer that monitors the rocket motor lost connection. As designed, this triggered a fail-safe scenario that intentionally halted ignition of the rocket motor. Following this occurrence, our pilots flew back to Spaceport America and landed gracefully as usual,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier mentioned in an announcement.

The company expects to repeat the spaceflight try from its working base at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Colglazier mentioned that Virgin Galactic is evaluating the knowledge from the check and didn’t point out when it expects to be able to launch once more, with the company saying it has a number of rocket engines “ready” onsite and will “check the vehicle and be back to flight soon.”

Shares of Virgin Galactic dropped greater than 18% in premarket buying and selling from its earlier shut of $32.04.

Saturday’s flight was the first of three remaining spaceflight exams the company plans to conduct to finish improvement of its spacecraft system, the third of which will carry founder Sir Richard Branson. The impression of the aborted check on Virgin Galactic’s schedule is but to be decided, with the Branson flight beforehand deliberate for first quarter of 2021.

Additionally, Virgin Galactic’s spaceflight try on Saturday was the company’s first in almost 22 months, with its earlier spaceflight in February 2019 from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. In the interim the company moved its operations to Spaceport America, from its manufacturing and improvement amenities in Mojave.

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