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Virgin Galactic Drops on Further Test-Flight Delay

Virgin Galactic shares are lower as the space-tourism company delays its test flight till May.
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Shares of space tourism company Virgin Galactic  (SPCE)  dropped Friday after the company said it was delaying its next test flight until May.

The move comes as the Las Cruces, N.M., company looks to fix an issue that was discovered earlier this month. 

The company had previously identified a window for a test flight of its SpaceShip Two vehicle that was open through the end of February, but the fix will take longer. 

Virgin Galactic said it uncovered additional electromagnetic interference issues during preflight preparations for a Feb. 13 flight that was scrapped and resolving the issue will take nine weeks. 

The company also aborted a powered test flight on Dec. 12 following a halt in the rocket motor's ignition sequence. 

The December test flight was supposed to complete gathering data for the final two Federal Aviation Administration verification milestones it needs for certification. 

Virgin had previously said it planned to start commercial suborbital space tourism operations this year, but the company delayed that timeline in its earnings release Thursday

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The company reported a net loss of $74 million, widened from $72.8 million in the year-earlier quarter.

On a per-share basis, the loss narrowed to 31 cents a share from 37 cents as its shares outstanding rose 22% to 236.7 million.

Virgin Galactic posted no revenue for the quarter.

Four analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting a loss of 32 cents a share for the quarter.

Separately, the company named Doug Ahrens chief financial officer, succeeding Jon Campagna.

Ahrens has more than 25 years of operational and strategic finance experience, most recently serving as CFO of semiconductor company Mellanox before it was acquired by graphics-chip specialist Nvidia  (NVDA)  in 2020.

Shares of Virgin Galactic at last check were down 15% to $36.10.