Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Virgin Galactic Returns to Space After 3-Month Delay

By Rich Smith - May 22, 2021 at 2:01PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

It took Virgin Galactic just one hour, eight minutes to recover ground lost over the past three months.

Three months ago, Virgin Galactic (SPCE -4.82%) dropped a bombshell: Its long-awaited third rocket-powered trip to space -- the one that was expected to bring the company within just months of initiating commercial space tourism flights, and selling space tourism tickets -- would not take place as planned. Instead, Virgin Galactic would postpone its test-flying until May 2021, while it worked to fix a problem with electromagnetic interference (EMI) that had disrupted a test flight in December.

Well, good news: Last week, Virgin Galactic declared the EMI problem fixed. And on Saturday, Virgin Galactic proved it with a successful return to space.

Virgin Galactic VSS Unity in space.

VSS Unity back in space, May 22, 2021. Image source: Virgin Galactic.

Taking off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at 10:35 am EDT this morning, Virgin's VMS Eve mothership carried its VSS Unity spaceplane to an altitude of 44,000 feet.

There, at 11:27 a.m., VMS Eve's pilots declared "Release, release, release!" and detached VSS Unity to begin its trip to space.

VSS Unity's engine ignited and fired for three full minutes before shutting down at 11:30 a.m. EDT and letting VSS Unity coast the rest of the way to apogee in space.

Two minutes later, gravity reasserted its hold over the craft, and VSS Unity began its descent back to Earth, touching back down at Spaceport America at 11:43 a.m. EDT.

In all, the test flight consumed just one hour, eight minutes start to finish. But as a result of it, this former SPAC stock -- that is, the stock of a special-purpose acquisition company -- is back in space, as well as back in the race to become the first company to begin commercial space tourism operations.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc.
SPCE
$6.32 (-4.82%) $0.32

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
397%
 
S&P 500 Returns
128%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/20/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.