Three weeks ago, Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE 3.25%) encountered a bit of a hiccup in its test flight schedule when a computer aboard its VSS Unity spaceplane lost connection to its rocket engine, triggering an automatic shutdown that prevented the engine from firing and aborted the mission.
Three weeks later, Virgin Galactic has figured out what went wrong, and is working on a fix -- and Virgin Galactic stock is up 3% as of 1:30 p.m. EST because of it.
Virgin Galactic updated investors and space fans on the news in a pair of tweets this morning, confirming that it has "completed the post-flight inspections and root cause analysis of what caused the onboard computer to halt ignition of the rocket motor," has defined the corrective actions needed to prevent a repeat of the glitch, and has work "already under way" to make the necessary fix.
Thread: following our test flight on December 12, 2020, we have completed the post-flight inspections and root cause analysis of what caused the onboard computer to halt ignition of the rocket motor. Corrective actions have been defined and work is already under way. pic.twitter.com/FCFH7JFhSA— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) January 7, 2021
There's no word yet on precisely how long this will take, but Virgin did promise to let investors know when it has an estimated "pre-flight timeline for the next test flight."
Long story short, the company is back on track. We may not know when the next test flight will take place, or when all scheduled test flights will be concluded, or when Virgin Galactic will (finally) be able to begin flying commercially and generating revenue so that we can affix an accurate valuation to the stock -- but at least we know that the countdown has begun.