Virgin Galactic’s stock rockets toward a record gain after FAA clears passenger flights into space

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Shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. rocketed toward a four-month high Friday, after the aerospace and space travel company said it received regulatory clearance to fly customers to space.

The company said the Federal Aviation Administration updated its current commercial space transportation operator license to mark the first time the FAA has licensed a “spaceline” to fly customers.

Separately, Virgin Galactic said a completed review of data gathered from its May 22 test flight confirmed that the flight “performed well against all flight objectives.”

Don’t miss: Virgin Galactic’s ‘major milestone’ space flight boosts stock to best in 6 weeks.

Also read: Virgin Galactic ‘leader’ of a future billion-dollar space-tourism market.

The stock
SPCE,
+33.33%
shot up 34.1% in midday trading Friday, putting it on track for the biggest percentage gain since it went public, through the completion of a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. in October 2019. The stock is headed for the highest close since Feb. 12, 2021.

Virgin Galactic faces competition from Amazon.com Inc.
AMZN,
-1.35%
founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space venture, which recently auctioned off the first seat on its suborbital sightseeing flight for a reported $28 million.

Virgin Galactic said the May 22 test flight showed that the spaceship’s horizontal stabilizers and flight controls demonstrated “strong” performance” and the cabin environment was in with expectations, while the flight carried three revenue-generating research experiments for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.

The company said with the review of the test flight completed, it will continue to prepare for the three remaining test flights.

Virgin Galactic’s stock has now more than doubled this year, skyrocketing 127.4% year to date, while the S&P 500 index
SPX,
+0.28%
has gained 13.9%.

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