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Virgin Galactic Announces New Launch Window Beginning Feb. 13

Virgin's SpaceShipTwo Unity had its planned flight in December suspended.
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Virgin Galactic  (SPCE)  shares soared Monday after the space company announced a new flight window starting Feb. 13 for its SpaceShipTwo Unity, which had its planned flight in December suspended.

The Dec. 12 flight was ditched when the onboard computer halted ignition of the rocket motor. 

Virgin Galactic was founded and is partly owned by British entrepreneur Richard Branson.

“The flight window will open on Feb. 13 with opportunities to fly throughout February, pending good weather conditions and technical readiness,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

“The test flight will be crewed by two pilots and will carry research payloads as part of the NASA Flight Opportunities program. Pre-flight preparations are already underway at Spaceport America, New Mexico.”

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Virgin said a “key objective of the upcoming flight will be to test the remedial work that has been completed” since the Dec. 12 suspension. 

“The team has since conducted the root cause analysis, completed the corrective work required, and carried out extensive ground testing,” the company said. “The next stage will be to assess and verify this work during a rocket-powered flight.”

“We are pleased to be able to get back to the skies and continue our flight test program,” said Chief Executive Michael Colglazier.

Once the SpaceShipTwo Unity completes two successful flights, the plan is for Branson to travel aboard the next flight.

Virgin Galactic traded higher Monday even after the stock was downgraded to hold from buy at Morgan Stanley. The firm raised the stock's target price to $30 a share from $24.