Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic gathers with Virgin Galactic employees in front of the new spaceship Two VSS Unity after the presentation ceremony. Photo / Getty Images
Virgin Galactic Holdings sank after the company said the next test flight was delayed, as was the journey of founder Richard Branson into space.
Shares of the company fell 14 shares to $ 36.50 before the start of regular trading on Friday in New York, making the shares fall sharply since mid-December.
The company said the next test flight was postponed for three months, until May.
The delay means that the plan to take billionaire Richard Branson into space on a separate test flight in the first quarter will also be moved. His trip will probably be moved to the summer.
In a conference call, President Mike Moses said electromagnetic interference problems caused a computer problem in December, when the rocket’s engine failed to start during a test flight.
Virgin Galactic replaced the computers of the flight system, but then discovered more problems with electromagnetic interference during preparations for the flight to be held on February 13th. Those problems will be rectified by May, Moses said.
“Investors looking for a shorter runway for the sake of profitability or even commercialization of their space tourism business are disappointed,” said Andrew Chanin, co-founder and CEO of ProcureAM, which runs the space ETF that holds Virgin Galactic shares.