Virgin Galactic stood by its plans to begin commercial space flights by the middle of next year, bolstering the company.
Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. stood by its plans to begin commercial space flights by the middle of next year, bolstering the company even as preparations remain a drag on its cash.
The space tourism firm has multiple test flights scheduled in the coming months ahead of a planned launch in the second quarter, according to a statement Thursday. The disclosure came as Virgin Galactic reported third-quarter sales that beat estimates.
The company, founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson, has grappled with supply-chain disruptions and labor constraints as it inches toward the debut of commercial service. It had planned to begin passenger flights to space this year, but has pushed back the launch plans multiple times, most recently targeting the second quarter of 2023.
Virgin Galactic on Thursday also said it expected free cash flow of negative $120 million to negative $130 million in the fourth quarter, worse than analysts’ average estimate of a burn of $114 million.
The shares bounced between gains and losses in late trading in New York, rising 1.5% as of 4:34 p.m. The stock, which has been trading since going public through a blank-check merger in 2019, had fallen 66% this year through Thursday’s close.
It’s been more than a year since Virgin Galactic successfully flew Branson to the edge of space and back on the company’s spaceplane, VSS Unity. Virgin Galactic has not flown any flights to space since that trip.