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Why Virgin Galactic Stock Exploded Higher on Monday

By Rich Smith - Feb 1, 2021 at 11:12AM

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The flight test program looks to be back on track.

What happened

Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE -0.46%) stock Monday, and no one cares.

In a note out this morning, reported by TheFly.com, the investment bank warned that it has seen "very little company specific news" to justify the stock doubling in price year to date. And yet there is news today. And Virgin Galactic shares are off to the races, up 12.2% as of 10:55 a.m. EST.

SpaceShipTwo rocketing towards space.

Image source: Virgin Galactic.

So what

This morning on Twitter, Virgin Galactic confirmed that the two test flights of its mothership aircraft VMS Eve conducted last month were preparatory to a test flight of its VSS Unity spaceplane, which is now scheduled to resume test flights this month. 

The company says the flight window for VSS Unity will open on Feb 13. What's more, Virgin believes it may have "opportunities to fly throughout the month, pending weather conditions and technical readiness."

Now what

It might fly throughout the month, that is, if Virgin has successfully fixed the problems that caused it to abort a test flight back in December. We'll find that out in a few weeks. If the problems have been fixed, then based on the contents of the tweet, Virgin seems to be saying it could conceivably complete both of its last two VSS Unity flights over the course of the next four weeks -- setting the stage for a flight by Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson shortly thereafter, and then actual revenue-generating commercial flights!

No wonder investors are excited, downgrade or no downgrade.

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