Virgin Galactic jumps 25% after it sets Unity test flight for this Saturday

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Virgin Galactic jumps 25% after it sets Unity test flight for this Saturday
Virgin Galactic
  • Virgin Galactic soared as much as 25% on Thursday after the company scheduled a test flight for its Unity spaceship this Saturday.
  • Previous test flight delays had sent shares of Virgin Galactic tumbling as investors are eager for progress from the company.
  • The SpaceshipTwo Unity will hit an altitude of 50,000 feet if weather and technical checks are satisfied.
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Shares of Virgin Galactic soared as much as 25% on Thursday after the space tourism company scheduled a test flight for its Unity spaceship for this Saturday.

Pending successful weather and technical checks, the SpaceshipTwo Unity will take off Saturday with two pilots and hit an altitude of 50,000 feet.

Previous test flight delays and maintenance issues for Virgin Galactic's spaceships had caused a continued decline in shares, as investors have been eager to see the pre-revenue company make progress towards its ultimate goal of sending tourists briefly into space. The company has already signed up about 600 customers who are willing to hop in the spaceship at a price of about $250,000.

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But those delays have pushed the company's commercial service launch to at least 2022, assuming all flights go as planned.

The SpaceshipTwo Unity test will carry research payloads as part of the NASA Flight Opportunities program. A successful test flight will ultimately pave the way for the company's founder, billionaire investor Richard Branson, to hop on the spaceship for a test flight.

Despite Thursday's spike higher, shares of Virgin Galactic are still down 67% from its record-high reached in February, and insiders like Chamath Palihapitiya and Richard Branson have sold a big chunk of their shares in the company.

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