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Virgin Galactic Stock Rises; Sales Reopened Starting at $450,000 a Seat

Space tourism company founded by Richard Branson posts a wider loss and improved revenue. And it reopened sales of seats on its suborbital flights.
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Virgin Galactic  (SPCE) - Get Virgin Galactic Report said it was reopening sales of seats on its suborbital space flights, with prices starting at $450,000 a seat. 

The company made the announcement as it reported a wider-than-expected loss on better-than-expected revenue. 

The company, founded by the entrepreneur Richard Branson, reported a second-quarter loss of 39 cents a share on revenue of $571,000. 

Virgin Galactic had been expected to report a loss of 33 cents a share on sales of $300,000, based on a FactSet survey of 10 analysts.

For the year-earlier period the company posted a loss of 30 cents a share. It reported no significant sales in the year-ago quarter.

The stock has risen 72% since the company last reported earnings on May 10.

“In the second quarter, we made meaningful progress towards commencing commercial service in 2022," Chief Executive Michael Colglazier said in a statement. 

"We successfully completed two spaceflights from New Mexico — the latest carrying a full crew of mission specialists in the cabin and garnering an extraordinary global media and consumer response. 

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"In addition, we received [Federal Aviation Administration] approval to expand our existing launch license, marking the first time the FAA has licensed a Spaceline to fly customers to space,” he said.

Virgin Galactic will have three consumer offerings: single seat; multiseat couples, friends and family packages; and full flight buyouts. Prices will start at $450,000 a seat, according to the statement. Virgin Galactic will open the sales first to its list of about 600 early hand-raisers.

The company said it would launch a revenue-generating flight with the Italian Air Force in late September.

Founder Branson completed the company’s first space tourism flight last month, potentially ushering in a new era of space tourism.

Branson’s flight came days before Amazon.com Founder and Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos completed the first suborbital manned flight of his own rocket.

TheStreet.com’s Jim Cramer recently noted that while space is an intriguing investment opportunity, it carries substantial risks. He suggested that Cathie Wood’s ARK Space ETF  (ARKX) - Get ARK Space Exploration ETF Report was an appropriate way to play the sector.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report Founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been racing ahead with development of a huge and entirely reusable two-stage rocket designed to launch everything from low-earth satellites to manned missions to the moon and Mars.

Spacesuits have evolved significantly from the first U.S. spaceflight 60 years ago. More here.