What happened

Shares of space tourism pioneer Virgin Galactic (SPCE -3.57%) -- the original space SPAC -- are jumping today, up by 4.5% as 11:25 a.m. ET. The move higher came after the company reported third-quarter results.

In fiscal Q3 2022, Virgin Galactic lost $0.55 per share, or $0.14 more per share than Wall Street had expected. On the plus side, the company appears to have beaten on sales, reporting $767,000 in revenue when analysts were looking for only $100,000.      

So what

Granted, we're talking here about a $1.2 billion company that's struggling (and failing) to amass even $1 million in quarterly sales. But despite Virgin Galactic's lack of progress on the financial front, investors seem happy with it today. Why is that?

Well, beyond the numbers (which were pretty lousy), Virgin Galactic also had some business developments to report. For one thing, the company is sticking with its promise to begin launching commercial spaceflights, carrying paying tourists and other space travelers, in Q2 2023. After multiple delays announced in previous quarters, just simply maintaining the status quo on that front counts as good news for the company at this point.

Additionally, Virgin Galactic is making progress lining up partners to help it build its newest class of "Delta" space planes. Yesterday, the company announced that Textron has signed on to build the "unique feathering system and flight control surfaces" for Delta, and Qarbon Aerospace will build Delta's fuselage and wings.

Now what

Combined with a prior announcement that Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences has signed on to build two new "motherships" (the airplanes that carry the space planes to altitude before releasing them to rocket toward space) for Delta, it sounds like Virgin Galactic has all its ducks in a row to begin building Delta.

That being said...don't expect to be seeing many Deltas in the air anytime soon. Virgin Galactic noted that flight testing on Delta won't begin before 2025, and the new space planes (Virgin wants six of them) won't enter commercial service before 2026.

That's a long time for investors to wait. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic is still losing $430 million a year and doesn't have a single space plane in operation right now. As Virgin Galactic stock rises on all of this news today, two words spring to mind: irrational exuberance.