What happened

Stock markets are in free fall again as we close out the week this Friday. The Dow is down 2.9% in noonday trading, the Nasdaq off 1.6%, and the S&P 500 -- probably the best gauge of the overall health of the market -- is somewhere in the middle, down 2.3%.

But the news isn't all bad. Shares of space tourism pioneer Virgin Galactic (SPCE -6.23%) stock are finally breaking their losing streak and bouncing back a solid 12.5%.


Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo rockets heavenward.

Image source: Virgin Galactic.

So what

With just $4.5 million in trailing revenue and not a profit to be seen anywhere (but, as a consequence of that, no P/E ratio to criticize, either), Virgin Galactic stock remains today a play on hope for what the company might do in the future. It doesn't take a lot to move Virgin Galactic stock either up or down.

Indeed, sometimes it takes no more than a tweet.

And a tweet it was indeed that seems to be moving Virgin this morning. Specifically, the company's tweeted announcement two hours ago that would-be space tourists "can now take One Small Step" toward reserving a flight on a Virgin Galactic spaceplane by clicking on a link.

Now what

Do that, and you'll be taken to a Virgin Galactic website inviting you to pay a small $1,000 deposit (fully refundable) to register and secure your place in line to rent a seat on an upcoming space launch -- "when [ever such seats] become available."

Do that, and you'll eventually be contacted by Virgin's marketing department to extend "a firm Giant Leap offer" -- at a price not yet named.

But don't worry about those details. "Registrations are limited," said Virgin Galactic, introducing a scarcity argument for buying its services. If the gambit works, Virgin Galactic should soon be rolling in piles of prepaid ticket cash.