What happened

Shares of Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) stock are up 5% in 12:25 p.m. EDT trading Thursday. There was no news to explain why the stock is moving higher, however.

So what

This is not an uncommon occurrence with Virgin Galactic. Actually, I'd say it's a not-uncommon occurrence with many start-up stocks that feature minimal to nonexistent revenue and profits but offer a good "story" to convince investors that the future could feature years of revenue growth and profits aplenty.

A Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo rocketing through space

Image source: Virgin Galactic.

And Virgin Galactic does have a good story. It's the first "new space" company to accomplish an IPO and access the public markets to fund its expansion. Alongside Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company, it's one of two companies known to be building space tourism businesses -- but the only one you can invest in today.

Virgin Galactic is also the only such business to have advertised the price of its service ($250,000 a ticket), giving investors and analysts at least a vague idea of how much revenue it might eventually collect, and how much profit it might earn, once it gets operations up and running.

Now what

All that being said, Virgin Galactic has now made it pretty clear that it won't be up and running before Q1 2021 at the very earliest. As the company lacks much in the way of a catalyst to support higher valuations between now and then, I think I'd be more inclined to buy the stock on a day when it goes on sale than on a day like today when it's getting more expensive.

Call me conservative if you like -- but 1,300x revenue just doesn't feel like a bargain.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.